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Mobility Councils Report Reflects on Progress Made Challenges Ahead
October 12, 2021
The Michigan Council on Future Mobility and Electrification (CFME) released its second report to recap the progress the State has made in its inaugural report in February 2021, and the next steps needed to ensure Michigan continues to be the epicenter of future transportation solutions around mobility and electrification.
The CFME divided into four workgroups to develop policy recommendations that will address challenges and further Michigan's mobility and electrification leadership. The Council's collaboration led to proposals for new, robust economic development tools to improve Michigan's competitiveness for mobility and electrification sector jobs, as well as increasing access to advanced mobility solutions, such as streamlining shared transportation systems and adapting antiquated policies that will become better suited for the future of automated vehicles.
"Gov. Whitmer and I want to develop and attract the skills and talent necessary to meet the changing demands of the mobility sector," Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II said. "This is a challenge that Michiganders are ready to meet. After all, Detroit put the world on wheels and now it's time for us to be the leader in clean transportation, and we are ready. The Council on Future Mobility and Electrification is another example of how we're fighting to build a stronger, more sustainable future for our kids and for future generations of Michiganders to come."
Since the first Model T rolled off the assembly line, Michigan has been the global leader in the mobility sector. Maintaining this leadership is imperative to the continued prosperity of the state and its residents. Recognizing the importance of the future of mobility, Gov. Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-02 creating the CFME to develop public policy recommendations that will maintain Michigan's leadership in advanced mobility and electrification.
The report's primary findings include:
- Michigan must continue its leadership in automated vehicle policies and smart infrastructure deployment, while investing in the mobility sector and economic and talent development. It is also imperative for Michigan to become more EV-friendly and better prepared for electric vehicles, while implementing policies to ensure the future of transportation is safe and enhances mobility solutions for Michiganders.
- Government encouragement of the adoption of electric vehicles and the deployment of EV charging infrastructure is also a must in the Council's view. While more research is required to develop efficient, targeted consumer incentive for electric vehicles themselves, the merits of incentives for charging infrastructure are well documented and easily replicated, and ready to be implemented with funding.
- The need to establish clear guardrails around the cybersecurity of intelligent transportation systems. Doing so will protect the safety Michigan residents and visitors.
The CFME's industry experts and public leaders stated Michigan will take a bold step forward and continue embracing the mobility and electrification sector, if the findings in the report are acted upon. Ignoring these recommendations, however, will leave Michigan behind the competition and unlikely to catch up given the one-time nature of so many of the resources available to states today.
The council also noted that if Michigan is to remain the mobility and electrification leader amongst its peers, it should be an advocate on federal policies. In particular, state perspectives are needed for federal lawmakers to make informed decisions on issues related to connected vehicle communications, transportation standards and mobility incentives.
"We fully support the Council's findings and are prepared to do what it takes to ensure Michigan stays ahead of the curve in the mobility sector," said Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director and CFME Chairwoman Susan Corbin. "The CFME has already made great strides since its inception, and I'm confident it will continue to excel with the appropriate support."
Some of the significant progress and notable highlights surrounding Michigan's mobility industry include:
- The CFME reported in February that Michigan was home to 24 automotive original equipment manufacturers but has now seen that number grow to 26, with 96 of the top 100 automotive suppliers having a presence in Michigan and 60 being headquartered here.
- In July 2021, Ford announced it will locate its global battery center in Romulus, investing $100 million in developing, testing and building vehicle battery cells.
- GM recently launched the redesigned Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV this summer, investing $402 million in Orion Township and subsequently bringing 400 new jobs to Michigan.
The Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) and CFME will use the report's findings and recommendations to help determine the actions required to enable Michigan to retain its global leadership position in mobility. OFME will coordinate the initiatives in cooperation with the Departments of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and all of state government.
"The mobility industry is constantly evolving, and Michigan fully intends to evolve with it to retain its position as a leader in the field," Michigan Chief Mobility Officer Trevor Pawl said. "I'm excited to see what's in store for our great state during these everchanging times. Seismic shifts are happening in the mobility industry, but they're changes that will impact Michiganders' lives for the better."
In addition to the state's progress in the mobility industry noted in the report , General Motors last week announced an all-new Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center. Governor Whitmer also recently announced several innovative mobility initiatives and programs. This includes the Michigan Revolution for Electrification of Vehicles Academy to proactively prepare the talent needed for automotive mobility and electrification current, emerging, and future jobs and career pathways. The Governor also announced the:
- Lake Michigan EV Circuit to create a tourism focused electric vehicle route with reliable charging options along Lake Michigan,
- REV-Midwest compact with four bipartisan governors to futureproof interstate commerce in the region, and
- Initiative to develop the nation's first wireless charging infrastructure on a public road in the U.S. right here in Michigan.
To learn more about the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification and the Council on Future Mobility and Electrification, visit Michiganbusiness.org/ofme.