Ford and GM Investing Big in Michigan for Electric and Autonomous Vehicles

Over the past few weeks, Ford and GM announced investments in Michigan manufacturing facilities and new electric vehicle models. Together, they are investing over $3 billion in electric and autonomous vehicle manufacturing in Michigan.

Ford Commits to E-mobility in Michigan, Announces the E-Transit

Ford is investing $850 million into the Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights and the River Rouge Complex in Dearborn to manufacture electric vehicles. All told, these investments will add or retain 725 Michigan jobs. The Van Dyke facility will assemble e-motors and e-transaxles for electric vehicles and the Rouge Plant will produce the all-electric F-150.

Ford also unveiled the E-Transit last week, offering fleets an all-electric option of their popular delivery vehicle. The E-Transit will offer customers software and data services that can help to manage their fleets. The E-Transit release is expected in 2021.

GM is Accelerating EV Investments, Unveils the Hummer EV

GM aims to release 20 electric vehicles by 2023, and thanks to strategic partnerships and technology investments, they are on track to exceed their goal. The Hummer EV was unveiled in late October and is being dubbed “the world’s first supertruck.” The all-electric Hummer is slated to go to production by the end of 2021.

General Motors also announced that they are rebranding their Detroit-Hamtramck plant to “Factory Zero.” GM will spend $2.2 billion to retrofit the facility for zero-emission and autonomous vehicles, and will start calling back workers to the plant in the New Year.

In addition to the Factory Zero investments, GM is also investing $150 million in five additional Michigan facilities. Two of those facilities – Orion Assembly and Brownstown Battery Assembly – will be used to produce self-driving Cruise Vehicles. Cruise is using the Chevrolet Bolt as the basis for their autonomous vehicles.

Renewable Propane: An Opportunity for Michigan to Lead

Propane gas serves an important role in Michigan’s energy economy. Michigan uses more propane for residential heating than any other state, and Michigan fleets are increasingly looking at propane to provide financial and environmental benefits for their fleet operations. Nationwide, there are about 200,000 vehicles that use propane, from school buses to police fleets, taxicabs, delivery vehicles, and more. That number is growing quickly. ICOM North America, ROUSH CleanTech, and many other businesses in Michigan have invented new and innovative solutions to bring propane vehicles to our roadways in increasing numbers.

Renewable Propane is a Near-Zero Carbon Solution

Renewable propane is providing a new opportunity in the propane market and unknown to many people – renewable propane is not a fossil fuel – it’s made from renewable materials like waste fats and cooking oils. The molecular structure of renewable propane is identical to traditional propane, which means the industry already knows how it will behave and how to use it efficiently.

Renewable propane also has all of the transportation benefits of traditional propane:

  • Cleaner burning, resulting in less air pollution than gasoline or diesel.
  • Affordable and easy refueling, so you can save money without hassle.
  • Domestic source of fuel, meaning we don’t need to rely on imports.

Plus, renewable propane offers a virtually carbon-neutral solution, which is important given Michigan’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  Fleets looking for alternative fuels can use renewable propane to save money, reduce emissions, and help Michigan to reach our energy and environmental goals.

As the supply of renewable propane increases, Michigan should be a leader in renewable propane sourcing and use. One avenue to do so is through the proposed Propane Commission, which is laid out in Senate Bill 1133. SB1133 seeks to promote propane as an alternative fuel by updating the definition of retail propane and by creating a Propane Commission to “foster, develop, and promote the sale and safe use of propane.”

Clean Fuels Michigan Poised for Growth with New Leadership

October 20, 2020 – Clean Fuels Michigan (CFM) is pleased to announce that Jane McCurry assumed the role of executive director in September, succeeding former director, Mike Alaimo.

CFM is a statewide non-profit organization comprised of businesses and other industry stakeholders dedicated to growing a high-tech, clean transportation industry in Michigan. They will be looking to McCurry for leadership and will hone in on her industry knowledge in order to advance the organization’s priorities.

“Jane brings valuable alternative fuel vehicle industry experience combined with excellent leadership skills. These assets and many more will make her an excellent addition to Clean Fuels Michigan,” said Tom Van Heeke, policy lead, General Motors. “I am looking forward to working with Jane and am excited to see where she will take our organization.”

Prior to her role with CFM, McCurry was the electric vehicles program manager at RENEW Wisconsin, where she started and led the organization’s electric vehicles programming and policy efforts.

“It’s an exciting time to be focusing on the clean transportation industry,” says McCurry. “Alternative fuels have so many benefits, from job creation to reduced air pollution. As Michigan looks toward the future of the transportation industry, I believe we are poised not only to benefit from this transition, but to lead it.”

McCurry also served as the executive director of Wisconsin Microfinance for two years, and now sits on the board of directors. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Operations and Technology Management and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin, where she was also a pole vaulter for the Track and Field team. She grew up in Canton, Michigan.

In her free time, McCurry enjoys visiting local farmers markets, working out, and coaching gymnastics.

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About Clean Fuels Michigan: CFM is a member supported non-profit organization comprised of businesses and other industry stakeholders dedicated to growing a high-tech, clean transportation industry in Michigan. To learn more, visit cleanfuelsmichigan.com.

Opinion: Reforms needed for federal EV tax credit

Clean fuels vehicles aren’t just the future, they’re here now.

In fact, alternative fuels vehicles support almost 300,000 American jobs, including thousands in Michigan. Sales of electric vehicles, also known as EVs, have grown in recent years, in part because of their low operating cost and environmental benefits. Another factor is a federal tax credit that has helped reduce their upfront cost, allowing more consumers to afford this exciting new technology. While the tax credit has been effective, it must be updated to reflect the growth and potential of the evolving EV industry.

That’s why consumer, industry and environmental stakeholders recently came together to form the EV Drive Coalition. Our mission is to reform and recharge the electric vehicle tax credit to keep the U.S. competitive in the rapidly changing transportation sector.

The existing $7,500 tax credit has spurred industry growth because it goes directly to the consumer who purchases an electric vehicle. As a relatively new industry, these tax credits have propelled growth because consumers are confident their investment is beneficial to both themselves and the environment. The problem is that for each manufacturer, there is a cap for how many vehicles can be sold with the tax credit. Reforming the credit to lift the manufacturing cap will avoid stunting the industry’s growth and keep us competitive in the global market.

We acknowledge there is a need to phase out the tax credit eventually as more electric vehicles hit the road. However, the U.S. electric vehicle sector still needs the credit to reach its full potential. Failing to fix the tax credit will allow global competitors to take over the EV market while America falls behind. The EV credit is a highly successful, market-based approach to keeping U.S. auto manufactures competitive, and phasing it out too early would hinder this emerging sector of our economy.

When Georgia phased out the EV tax credit, the state saw a 90 percent decline in EV sales, illustrating the importance of the two-way investment between the consumer and producer. Consumers want options and, with so many new electrified vehicles coming to market over the next few years, need to be assured that they can invest in the EV of their choice at an affordable rate.

An analysis by Clean Fuels Michigan found that the clean mobility sector contributes $18.8 billion to Michigan’s economy as well as $700 million in state and local taxes, and this is just the beginning. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that by 2030, global sales of electric vehicles will reach 30 million. Ten years later in 2040, there are estimated to be 500 million electric vehicles on the road. The unprecedented potential for growth in the EV industry can only be fully realized if we continue to reward consumers for their investment in a sustainable future and encourage more EV manufacturers to create more jobs here at home.

The EV Drive Coalition understands that automobiles are an essential part of everyday, American life and believe that the future of EV production starts here, in places like Michigan where automotive sector jobs account for  15 percent of the workforce. America’s progress in the EV industry is steady, but through reforming the tax credit, it can soar.

Published in The Detroit News on November 29, 2018

Bills aim to improve clean mobility infrastructure

Legislation intends to eliminate obstructions for the sale, research and development of technologies.

Grand Rapids Business Journal – By Ehren Wynder

On the heels of a recent Clean Fuels Michigan report, two Michigan state representatives introduced bills to help grease the wheels for clean mobility infrastructure.

Reps. Bronna Kahle, R-Adrian, and Michael Webber, R-Rochester Hills, introduced legislation to help remove barriers for the sale, research and development of electric vehicles and other clean mobility technologies.

Kahle’s House Bill 6328 would create incentives for businesses that make investments into the research and development of electric vehicles and advanced mobility. This bill would help small and midsized companies invest in R&D for advanced mobility in Michigan.

Specifically, the bill calls for amendments to the Michigan Strategic Fund Act allowing advanced propulsion and mobility technologies to qualify for the fund.

“It’s important to note this is not a new cost to the state by any means,” Kahle said. “It’s an expansion of who can apply for grants from the Michigan Strategic Fund.”

Kahle said she was inspired by Venchurs Vehicle Systems, an auto manufacturer headquartered in her district of Adrian.

“They are doing some wonderful things providing compressed natural gas conversion for fleet vehicles,” she said.

Venchurs also is a qualified vehicle modifier for Ford Motor Company and offers CNG conversion for the full Ford lineup, according to the company’s website.

Webber’s House Bill 6083 would make electric and alternative fuel vehicles exempt from a portion of the sales tax, which would be calculated based on the vehicle’s weight.

“We definitely want to get those vehicles out on the road,” Webber said. “That’s a little bit of what my legislation is trying to do — get folks to look at these clean vehicles. They want to be fuel efficient, but then they look at the price tag.”

If Webber’s bill passes, vehicles up to 6,000 pounds would receive a $1,000 exemption, up to 16,000 pounds would receive a $2,500 exemption, up to 26,000 pounds would receive a $5,000 exemption and vehicles over 26,000 pounds would receive a $7,500 tax exemption.

Tax exemptions apply for both the sale of a new alternative energy vehicle and the sale of a motor vehicle that has been converted to an alternative energy vehicle. The exclusion also applies to a new alternative energy vehicle purchased for lease if the term of the lease is at least two years.

Clean Fuels Michigan, a group of local companies focused on clean fuel alternatives, released a report claiming the state’s clean mobility sector contributes $18.8 billion to the Michigan economy each year and generates over $700 million in state and local taxes, according to previous Business Journal coverage.

The report also said Michigan’s clean mobility supply chain contributes over 69,000 direct and indirect jobs to the state economy.

Clean Fuels Michigan defines clean-fuel vehicles as ones powered by biofuels, propane, natural gas, electricity and hydrogen fuel cells. Hybrid vehicles also are included.

“Clean transportation technologies will play an increasingly important role in Michigan’s auto industry, which is why it is important to have policies in place that position Michigan to lead in this rapidly changing industry,” said Mike Alaimo, executive director of Clean Fuels Michigan.

While Alaimo applauded the recent push for legislative change, he added there still is “massive” potential for growth and further investment in the clean mobility industry. With over 3,160 clean technology transportation patents and 375 R&D centers, Michigan is beating California in terms of innovation, but the potential remains largely untapped.

“As robust as the industry is emerging in Michigan, it’s growing rapidly elsewhere,” Alaimo said. “Indiana and Ohio are aggressively supporting the growth of these vehicles. We’re No. 1 in terms of energy patents, but we’re near the bottom in terms of implementations … that’s going to be our main focus going into fall and winter.”

As part of its effort to raise awareness, Clean Fuels Michigan is coming to Grand Rapids on Oct. 15 to host a Clean Mobility Expo at The Rapid CNG Fueling Station. The event will feature various clean-fuel vehicles on display and panel discussions with industry experts.

Kahle and Webber said they were inspired partly by the Clean Fuels report to get on board and introduce legislation to spur alternative vehicle development.

“The top priority for me is promoting policies that strengthen our economy,” Kahle said. “This report played a role for me in terms of growth in industry, growth in jobs. It confirms what I already saw in my visit with Venchurs.”

Both bills still have yet to be voted into law. House Bill 6328 was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and House Bill 6083 was referred to the Tax Policy Committee. Neither bill has been voted out of its respective committee at press time.

http://bit.ly/2N0f25e

Lawmakers Announce Clean Mobility Legislation During ‘Drive Electric Week’

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Drive Electric Week celebrates benefits, opportunities for electric vehicles, advanced mobility

LANSING, Mich.–– As events take place across the state for National Drive Electric Week, Representatives Bronna Kahle (R-Clinton) and Michael Webber (R-Rochester Hills) today announced legislation that would help remove barriers for the sale, research and development of electric vehicles and other clean mobility technologies.

House Bill 6328, introduced by Rep. Kahle would create incentives for businesses that make investments into the research and development of electric vehicles and advanced mobility. This bill would help small and mid-sized companies invest in R&D for advanced mobility in Michigan.

“Michigan’s rich history as the auto capital of the world means we should be a leader in the future of transportation and vehicle production,” said Rep. Kahle. “My legislation keeps Michigan on the cutting edge of innovation and supports next-generation companies. It’s part of a plan promoting job creation, community revitalization and clean fuels – three positive goals that can be accomplished together with the right strategy.”

House Bill 6083, introduced by Rep. Webber would make electric and alternative fuel vehicles exempt from a portion of the sales tax, which would be calculated based on the vehicle’s weight.

“Electric and autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation in Michigan and across the country, and my legislation will remove barriers for Michiganders who want to take advantage of the growing advanced mobility trend,” said Rep. Webber. “Currently, consumers seeking to purchase an electric vehicle face many hurdles and additional fees that make owning an EV out of reach for many, and my legislation seeks to increase access to those consumers who wish to save money on gasoline and promote cleaner transportation.”

In May, Clean Fuels Michigan, an organization of businesses and organizations focused on growing a high-tech, clean transportation industry in Michigan released a report on the economic impact of the clean mobility industry in Michigan. The report found that the industry contributes $18.8 billion to Michigan’s economy each year, and supports more than 69,000 jobs.

“Clean transportation technologies will play an increasingly important role in Michigan’s auto industry, which is why it is important to have policies in place that position Michigan to lead in this rapidly changing industry,” said Mike Alaimo, executive director of Clean Fuels Michigan.  “There is massive potential for growth and further investment in the clean mobility industry, and I applaud Reps. Kahle and Webber for introducing legislation that would help Michigan seize on this potential.”

Clean Fuels Michigan, along with other industry partners such as Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities Coalition, the Michigan Agency for Energy and General Motors, participated in events for Drive Electric Week including an electric vehicle ride and drive.

“Vehicle electrification is a vital component of the automotive industry’s seismic transition towards advanced mobility technologies,” said Britta Gross, director of advanced vehicle technology and commercialization policy for General Motors. “Investing in this technology will support jobs and the environment, and help Michigan maintain its’ leadership as the automotive capital of the world during a time of unprecedented competition.”

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Report: Clean mobility sector pumps $18B into Michigan’s economy annually

New report on clean mobility in Michigan details economic, environmental, consumer benefits

The clean mobility sector contributes $18.8 billion to Michigan’s economy and generates over $700 million in state and local tax revenue annually, according to a new economic analysis released today by Clean Fuels Michigan. The study was conducted by Public Sector Consultants and analyzed various economic benefits that result from private sector investments in research, development and commercialization of clean mobility technologies. Clean mobility includes vehicles that use less-polluting alternatives to fossil fuels, such as biofuels, propane, natural gas, hydrogen fuel cells, electrification and hybrids.

“Whether we are looking to support advanced mobility innovations like autonomous or connected vehicles, preserve and grow our skilled workforce, or do more to support clean energy solutions, clean transportation technologies are truly the backbone of a global arms race towards the next generation of mobility,” said Mike Alaimo, Executive Director of Clean Fuels Michigan.  “As the auto capital of the world, Michigan needs to ensure that our policies reflect the rapid change and fierce competition in the global arena.”

Key findings from the analysis include:

  • The clean mobility sector contributes $18.8 billion to Michigan’s economy each year, generating over $700 million in state and local taxes
  • With indirect and induced employment, Michigan’s clean mobility supply chain contributes over 69,000 jobs to the state’s economy
  • Michigan currently has 29,000 direct clean fuel vehicle jobs
  • Technology and policy changes will push the vehicle sector increasingly towards clean fuels
  • Clean fuel vehicles have enormous potential to decrease healthcare costs associated with poor air quality

“The rapid growth of clean fuel vehicles has big implications for Michigan’s automotive, tech and energy industries, which make up a significant portion of the state’s workforce,” said Jeff Guilfoyle, Vice President of Public Sector Consultants and lead author of the study. “Millions of these vehicles are projected to be on our roads over the next few years. Government policies have and will continue to play an important role when looking at ways this evolving industry can affect Michigan’s overall economic health.”

Michigan Automakers and utility companies are actively working to support the increased adoption of electric vehicles and see significant benefits of vehicle electrification for Michigan.

“Supporting innovation in the clean fuels sector can drive down costs and help us overcome barriers to electric vehicle adoption, like access to charging infrastructure,” saidVince Carioti, Director of E-Mobility at Phoenix Contact. “As a large, privately held auto supplier, we see enormous opportunity for growth in Michigan’s clean fuels sector and are excited about working to increase our presence there.”

“DTE Energy is working to ensure plug-in electric and natural gas vehicles (PEVs and NGVs respectively) are integrated in a manner that ensures safe and reliable operation of the grid,” said Rob Bacyinski, Program Manager of Natural Gas Vehicle Business Development, DTE Energy and Chair of the Board at Clean Fuels Michigan. “We believe that clean fuels and electric vehicles will bring added benefits to not only the energy grid, but customers and the public at large.”

The full report can be found here.