This newsletter was originally published on January 26, 2018.
Michigan EIBC Holds EV Convening
The meeting – attended by utility companies, automakers, advanced energy companies, environmental advocates convene to advance EVs in Michigan –attempted to lay out a strategy to advance electric vehicle charging infrastructure and address other future challenges facing the expansion of electric vehicles in Michigan. Conveners hope to deliver a cohesive strategy to electrify Michigan’s transportation system and make Michigan a leader in advanced transportation.
“Governor Snyder and other state leaders have said Michigan should be a hub for mobility, but that won’t happen unless we start planning for the future of transportation, which means autonomous and electric vehicles,” said Michigan EIBC President Liesl Clark. “We look forward to developing a successful electric vehicle framework that includes strong investments in charging infrastructure and consumer education.”
Among those leading the planning effort are utility companies DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, automobile manufacturers, advanced energy companies, environmental advocates and other interested stakeholders.
“Michigan’s history as the auto capital of the world positions our state to be a leader in the emerging advanced mobility industry, which includes autonomous vehicles and connected vehicle technology,” said Clark. “Creating a coordinated and collaborative strategy is an essential step for the success of vehicle electrification in Michigan, which is why we are convening stakeholder meetings with a broad range of organizations, businesses and regulators.”
The remaining four meetings will take place over the next five months. Interested participants should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Institute for Energy Innovation Unveils Report on Vehicle Electrification and Automation
The Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI) unveiled its report, Powering the Mobility Revolution: The Case for Integrating Vehicle Electrification & Batteries into Strategies to Promote Autonomous Vehicles.
“Self-driving vehicles are the next big step for the transportation industry, and the mobility industry is increasingly based on electric vehicle technology,” said IEI president Liesl Eichler Clark. The increasing interconnection between automation and electrification in advanced vehicle development is due to the fact that electric vehicle engines have fewer moving parts than internal combustion engines, and therefore are easier to control from a vehicle computer.
The report found that the rapid growth of autonomous and electric vehicles creates new mobility opportunities – for elderly, disabled, and non-driving passengers; for those who cannot afford to purchase or maintain an internal combustion engine vehicle; and for those who would prefer not to spend money on all-day parking when their car could just as easily be transporting others during those time periods.
The report also found that to fully take advantage of the growth of autonomous and vehicles, states and communities need to focus on implementing the necessary charging infrastructure, designing proper rates (such as time of use rates) to benefit from excess capacity on the grid, and implement policies that incentivize, rather than discourage, the adoption of autonomous and electric vehicles. This includes offering rebates for vehicle purchases, incentives for expensive direct current fast charge stations, and long-duration purchase agreements for sites hosting charging stations, among others.
Detroit Hosts Auto Show
The North American International Auto Show just concluded in Detroit. At the show, companies debuted a slew of new vehicles and pushed the boundaries on mobility by providing attendees with the opportunity to experience the latest mobility-focused technologies – including electrification and automation – and innovative platforms, start-ups, and suppliers. No other event in North America provides such an international platform for the future of mobility and self-driving cars.
At the Auto Show, Governor Rick Snyder asserted that Michigan will continue to be a worldwide leader in the transformation of the auto industry as it moves toward autonomous vehicles. To get there, the governor said the state needs to boost its public-private partnerships for testing facilities and continue to draw talent for industrial automation robotics.
- The Detroit News predicts that 2018 will be a pivotal year for electric and autonomous vehicles, asserting that the overall market share for electric vehicles will surpass 4% for the first time ever. This projection is based in part on Tesla’s plan to make 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by March, in part on the popularity of General Motors’ all-electric Chevy Bolt, and in part on Ford for its plans for electrification.
- University of Michigan researchers found that owners of gasoline cars pay 2.3 times more than electric vehicle drivers on an annual basis.
- The Petoskey News-Review asks “What’s the future of electric vehicles?”
- Ann Arbor’s EV charging stations are seeing the highest volume of usage ever.
- General Motors CEO Mary Barra promised investors that the company would make a profit selling electric vehicles by 2021. She plans to achieve this through developing the company’s proprietary battery technology and cut the cost of battery cells.
- The Self Drive Act will help ensure that autonomous vehicles are safe.
- U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania Bill Shuster, the GOP chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, will not run for re-election. After the election, House leadership will appoint a new chairman to the committee.
- The electric vehicle tax credit survived the tax bill, but a phase-out may still be on the horizon. While the credit has been celebrated by many, it may put Tesla and GM at a competitive disadvantage.
Across the Country
- Electric and hybrid car sales for 2017 are expected to be up nearly 30%, but still only account for about 1% of U.S. sales. At the same time, almost 80% of Americans lease their EVs instead of buying them – much more than for gas cars.
- Global automakers have invested $90 billion to date in batteries and electric vehicles, and that number is expected to keep growing.
- According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the transportation sector has become less energy efficient.
- GM plans to deploy an autonomous vehicle fleet by 2019, and is seeking federal approval to test cars without steering wheels.
- Visteon, a spinoff of Ford, is beginning to work toward autonomous vehicles.
- Ford will invest $11 billion on its electric vehicles by 2022 and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup. The automaker also wants to be the autonomous OS for the future of transportation, partnering with Postmates on AV food deliveries.
- Tesla fell short on its promises for rolling out Model 3 cars in the third quarter of 2017. The company has already made plans for an electric pickup truck after the release of its Model Y SUV.
- A China-based startup unveiled a “next-generation” electric SUV at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Luxury automobile designer Henrik Fisker unveiled the Fisker EMotion at the Show, positioning the vehicle to compete with Tesla’s Model S.
- Toyota is working with Amazon, Uber, and Pizza Hut to develop a self-driving shuttle.
- Google is still in the race to build self-driving cars.
- The CEO of Fiat Chrysler Sergio Marchionne says EVs aren’t profitable and do not warrant serious investment.
- A pilot program launched by Pacific Gas & Electric will introduce 7,500 electric car chargers in California, the largest utility-sponsored EV charging program in the country.
- North Carolina electric cooperatives are trying to lure EV drivers to rural, scenic areas with new charging stations aimed at tourists.
- The world’s first fully electric container barges, complete with 20-foot batteries, will begin operating this summer.
Events to Watch
The Michigan Public Service Commission has announced plans for its second Electric Vehicle Conference in on February 20.