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The U.S must keep moving towards the EV forefront
Written By: Jen Neville
August 31, 2018
Congresswoman Dingell led a conversation of industry leaders about keeping the United States and Michigan at the forefront of developing and manufacturing electric vehicles and ensuring the infrastructure to support electric vehicles so consumers have the confidence to buy electric vehicles. Joining Dingell were participants from Michigan utility companies, state energy and environmental agencies, auto suppliers, along with Ford and General Motors
Earlier this year, California Governor Jerry Brown announced an ambitious $2.5 billion plan to boost electric vehicles and a network of charging stations. Dingell’s focus was on keeping Michigan and US industries competitive against China and other foreign competitors in the electric vehicle marketplace.
“Michigan has always been leading the world in auto technology, and we have to ensure this continues to remain true moving forward,” stated Dingell. “We must keep the US at the EV forefront. The government needs to ensure consumers have the confidence to buy electric vehicles including building the infrastructure to support EVs. There’s been a lot of interest in Congress in passing an infrastructure bill, and while I agree that we badly need to invest in improving our roads and bridges, we need to be thinking broader than that. We also need to be investing in the charging infrastructure communities will need to support increased deployment of electric vehicles, which will create a pathway to a clean energy future while supporting manufacturing jobs at the same time. At the end of the day, this is about keeping the United States at the forefront of innovation and technology, and making sure that Michigan remains the global center of the auto industry.”
Electric vehicles represent a tremendous opportunity for the State of Michigan to continue to lead the world in developing the latest cutting edge automotive technology. Established auto industry leaders like Ford and General Motors have invested billions in developing EVs, and that investment extends down to suppliers like Visteon. DTE Energy and CMS are both working with the State of Michigan to establish EV charging pilot programs, and they are working closely with the auto industry to achieve these goals. Yet the key to success in the EV market is building consumer confidence. The issues that must be addressed include range, affordability, and the need for charging infrastructure. Thursday’s discussion highlighted how all stakeholders must work together to address these policy issues as well as to ensure the necessary charging infrastructure is built to support EVs.
“In addition to the environmental benefits, electric vehicles are a catalyst for change in the architecture of the vehicle cockpit toward fully digital — enabling automated driving,” noted Upton Bowden, director, advanced technology development, for cockpit electronics supplier Visteon Corporation.
“We appreciate these kinds of forums that bring multiple stakeholders together to address the exciting opportunities ahead in mobility. At Ford, we announced earlier this year our $11 billion commitment to deliver 40 new hybrid and electric vehicles globally by 2022. Innovation and new technologies are key to our future and our ability to support our customers. Michigan will be at the center of our research and development and we will continue to work closely with Congresswoman Dingell and policy makers to support this investment and growth,” stated Curt Magleby VP Government Relations, Ford Motor Company.
“General Motors would like to thank Congresswoman Dingell for hosting today’s EV round table discussion. It’s a critical topic relevant to our vision of a zero emissions future. We are encouraged about the Congresswoman’s enthusiasm for ensuring that Michigan remains the automotive leader, especially as this industry makes transformational advancements in transportation,” stated Britta Gross, Director, Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy, Global Public Policy – Environment and Energy, General Motors.
“Consumers Energy appreciates the opportunity to share our thoughts with Rep. Dingell on the importance of supporting Michigan jobs and innovation by promoting electric vehicles,” commented Brandon Hofmeister, Consumers Energy's senior vice president of governmental, regulatory and public affairs. “We support the addition of charging stations throughout Michigan, which we believe will remove a barrier to electric vehicle ownership.”
“DTE believes that electrifying the transportation sector provides significant opportunities, including environmental improvements through zero-emission EVs and as we incorporate substantially more renewable energy and low-emission natural gas to produce electricity while reducing carbon emissions by more than 80 percent,” added Chuck Conlen, DTE Energy’s Executive Director of Electric Marketing and Economic Development. “Our customer base can also benefit from the additional load added to the system by spreading fixed costs over a greater volume of sales.”