Electrifying transit for a changing lifestyle

This story was originally posted in the January issue of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroiter magazine. Read more at www.detroitchamber.com/news-media/detroiter-magazine/.
Q: While Michigan is the epicenter of automotive, the state’s share of EV sales remains low. What do we need to do to boost the adoption rate?

A: Whether it’s Michigan or any other state, range anxiety and lack of infrastructure play a huge role in adoption. Communities can ease the transition by investing in infrastructure and helping make more mobility options available. At May, we’ve started the process in solving these issues.

Edwin Olson
CEO and Co-founder, May Mobility

The Coming Electrification

As the global automotive industry shifts its focus to electrification, things are beginning to heat up in Michigan. Consider the fact that most of the major automakers have announced plans to rollout myriad EV projects within the next five years, utility companies are working on innovative strategies to meet increased demand, and organizations like the Michigan Public Service Commission and other stakeholder groups continue to advocate for policy at the state level.
Companies like American Axle & Manufacturing, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Co., Lear Corp., May Mobility, Magna International, and others have already invested millions overhauling their business strategy to stay ahead of these trade winds. Suppliers large and small across the state are increasingly focused on improving the battery life, drivetrain and other components necessary for these vehicles.

By all accounts, Michigan is ripe for increased EV adoption, a precursor for wider rollout of the connected, autonomous vehicles of the future. However, we must also acknowledge several key challenges such expanded access to charging stations, cost and overall awareness. According to the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, Michigan ranks in the top half nationally for EVs, however we lag states like California and New York on infrastructure, for example. Additionally, the supply chain, which is critical to automakers’ EV plans, remains skeptical that adoption will occur as quickly as OEMs hope without a more robust user engagement strategy.

The market will be blended for the next decade, experts agree. One thing is clear: whether it’s hybrids, fully electric, or some combination of both, the transportation evolution is not an “if” but “when.”

Our state and region have an opportunity to lead the nation in this new technology. The question remains, “Is Michigan prepared?” Answering that question in the affirmative requires all the players working together to create a framework to tackle these challenges with the innovative know-how that defines the Great Lakes State.

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