Detroit, home of the American automobile industry, is where big names in car manufacturing built their homes. The infrastructure is still there, even if a lot of the manufacturing is now done in other states. One of the reasons for this is economics. If the auto industry does not drastically change their focus, and adapt to trends and technology, the industry itself will be left behind to die a certain death.
Lastly, EVs are new technology, which means there are emerging challenges. These include mobility issues for the whole population, and these need to be addressed by partnerships between the public and other stakeholders.
The auto industry is playing catch up with the electric vehicle (EV) trend, with newer companies grabbing headlines for electric vehicles. Michigan is not too late in the game, and it can still lead in EV production provided it has the support of regulators, policymakers, electric companies and other businesses.
A recent study by M.J. Bradley & Associates showed a potential for EV production in Michigan, as well as savings for consumers. According to Brian Jones, M.J. Bradley senior vice president, the study estimated costs and benefits of increased use of EVs in Michigan. He said that the high projections are achievable if the various stakeholders including utility companies, government regulators, and consumers continue to adopt EV use.
Charles Griffith, the Climate and Energy Program Director for the Ecology Center, said that “the benefits of electric vehicles for Michigan are significant – especially when it comes to the potential for new auto sector jobs and protecting our air, land and Great Lakes.”
The study reported “moderate” to “high” values for variables in scenarios used by Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) and Bloomberg. Bloomberg estimated that by 2050, around 55.7% of all vehicles including passenger cars, trucks, and other vehicles in the state are electric powered.
The report findings point out that cumulative benefits from EV adoption by 2050 include:
- electricity bills reduction for all utility customers ranging from $800 million to $2.6 billion;
- compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, savings due to EV ownership are from $6.3 billion to $23.2 billion;
- reduced pollution benefits range from $1.5 billion to $5.7 billion.
Other potential benefits include:
- between 138.6 million and 243.6 million gallons of gasoline saved annually; and
- reduced greenhouse gas emissions of 1.9 million tons up to 7.7 million tons.
In order for Michigan to reclaim the lead in automobile production, specifically electric vehicle manufacturing, it has to address several things: vehicle charging, consumer education, and identifying and meeting challenges to mobility.
Vehicle charging is the fuel to adopting EV. Putting up more charging stations would motivate buyers to choose EVs. The cost of charging should also be affordable. Utilities and regulators have to collaborate to ensure an adequate charging infrastructure at fair rates.
Related with charging stations, utility companies should educate consumers about the costs and benefits of an EV. This can expand the market further and lead to faster adoption. EVs are easier to maintain and they have less moving parts. Some cars do not have any maintenance checks until they reach 100,000 miles.
Lastly, EVs are new technology, which means there are emerging challenges. These include mobility issues for the whole population, and these need to be addressed by partnerships between the public and other stakeholders. It is also necessary to discuss advanced transportation issues like driverless vehicles and ride sharing.
Electric vehicles are the future, and are already growing in popularity. The earlier that Michigan addresses how to take advantage of this opportunity, the better it is for the state and its citizens.