Global markets are shifting dramatically toward electric vehicles (EVs), and advancements in connected and self-driving vehicle technology are driving development. As the automotive industry evolves, the need for highly skilled workers in manufacturing, engineering and computer programming will increase. That industry growth will take place where pro-business EV policies are in place.
Here in the auto capital, Michigan stands to benefit greatly from developing a marketplace for next generation mobility. Challenges remain, but the transition is already underway.
Two of our largest automakers, Ford and General Motors, recently announced massive expansions in EV development and production.
Ford is assembling a team of experts called “Team Edison” to take electric vehicle development to the next level. It is also poised to roll out 13 new EV models over the next five years.
GM, already a strong force in the EV sector, will introduce two new EV models in 2023, expanding its fleet to 22 and strengthening its commitment to a zero-emissions future.
Like Ford, GM is increasingly transitioning its workforce toward electric vehicle development and production. The automaker recently created a new position titled vice president of global electric vehicle programs, which will help the company continue expanding development of EVs.
In the regulatory sphere, the Michigan Public Service Commission is taking steps to move the needle on electric vehicle regulation. The commission recently announced it is developing pilot programs for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and will be taking input from the public on how the pilots should be structured.
Utility companies will also play a critical role in the expansion of electric vehicles in Michigan. Ensuring there are enough charging stations in place in the right areas is essential. Consumers will not purchase EVs unless they have certainty there are enough charging stations around the state to keep their cars running. Our electricity should be affordable, and with the right policies in place, vehicle electrification can make the grid more efficient and lead to lower rates. Utility companies and the Public Service Commission will have to work together to set up a rate structure that is beneficial to drivers and the electric grid.
Clean Fuels Michigan believes maintaining our state’s position as auto capital of the world depends on a clean mobility strategy. Proper planning and policies will drive down costs and keep Michigan competitive in the rapidly shifting global market, while improving our environment. Thirty-seven states across the country have pro-business policies in place for alternative fuel vehicles. Michigan is not one of them.
Our state is home to the highest concentration of automotive engineers, and we currently produce more cars and trucks than any other state. Decision-makers need to support policies that will spark growth of the clean fuels marketplace to help businesses grow and spur further investment. We should make Michigan a leader on EVs instead of allowing those investment dollars to go elsewhere.
Mike Alaimo is executive director of Clean Fuels Michigan.