Michigan is America’s auto hub. Twenty percent of the state’s economy and one in five jobs are tied to the automotive industry. Although electric vehicles represent fewer than 1% of registered vehicles in Michigan, their numbers increased by more than 400% between 2019 and 2022. As the future of mobility evolves and the automotive sector embraces electrification, it is the state’s job to lead.
Seeing the rise in demand for electric vehicles and with our economy intrinsically tied to the auto industry, Michigan’s goal is to increase electric vehicle market share from 1% to 25% by 2030. Multiple agencies across the state were already working to realize that goal when the Michigan Department of Transportation was awarded $110 million by the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program to plan and deploy a statewide EV charging network. Our goal is to maximize those dollars by ensuring our investments don’t overshadow, conflict or duplicate other efforts already underway.
Three state agency partners
According to Michigan’s State Plan for Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment, we will install four 150-kilowatt or greater chargers with combined charging system ports at intervals of no more than 50 miles along each of the state’s designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) over the next five years. Once the AFCs are fully built out and certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, the remaining funds will become discretionary and eligible for use on any public road or publicly accessible area. Naturally, we want to stretch our formula funding as far as possible.
While our overall EVID plan and end goal may be like those of other states, the extent of our state agency partnerships is quite different. To gain a comprehensive view of the efforts across the state and to ensure we are maximizing NEVI funding, MDOT is partnering with three other state agencies to develop and deploy the EVID plan:
- The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
- The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification
- The Michigan Public Service Commission
The unique collaboration allowed us to pool our resources and expertise to create the EVID plan, rapidly deploy it and maximize NEVI funding. Under the first procurement, we will contract entities to acquire, install, operate and maintain publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure at 46 sites.
Division of responsibilities
Each of the four state agency partners brings a unique skill set and valuable experience to Michigan’s EVID plan and plays a specific role in its launch. MDOT is the lead agency focused on delivering the charging and grid infrastructure. We will award and administer the federal funds.
The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) operates the charging infrastructure deployment program. They know the EV market and leveraging their industry relationships has expedited our efforts. In fact, EGLE’s Charge Up Michigan Program provided lessons learned for the state’s NEVI Formula Program, serving as a model for prioritization and installation that will save time and money in our own deployment.
The Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) provides labor and workforce expertise. They work with state government, academia and private industry to enhance Michigan’s mobility ecosystem, including efforts to develop dynamic mobility and electrification policies and support emerging mobility and electrification technologies and businesses throughout Michigan. OFME has initiated EV collaboration and support between state departments in charge of infrastructure, passenger transportation, industry, workforce, climate solutions and the grid.
Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) ensures safe, reliable and accessible energy and telecommunications services. Naturally, the MPSC informed the plan from a utility perspective. In addition, they have provided insights we might not have considered, such as how to fortify our network against power outages.
Risk mitigation strategies
Our DOT and its partners have mobilized several strategies to minimize costly risks and ensure the success of Michigan’s EVID program:
Revving up the supply chain and the workforce
Shortages of equipment and a skilled workforce threaten every EVID plan across the country as states enter the implementation phase and inundate the industry with RFPs for installations. We are addressing the issue directly with economic development incentives to attract EV charging station manufacturers. As a result, Canadian-based FLO opened its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and began production in 2022. BorgWarner is investing $20 million to expand three existing Michigan-based facilities and develop an electric vehicle battery service center. These manufacturers will help the state meet market demand as it ramps up.
To ensure Michigan has a robust labor market to build and support EV charging infrastructure for the next five years and beyond, the OFME is funding a workforce training program. The program aims to extend to every licensed electrician and apprentice in the state the opportunity to become Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program-certified. In turn, contractors and subcontractors must hire EVITP-certified electricians to install and maintain the NEVI-funded electric vehicle supply equipment.
Developed in collaboration with automakers, utilities, EVSE equipment manufacturers and other key stakeholder associations, the workforce training programs will ensure that no matter where EV charging stations are installed and maintained, there will be a robust, localized labor pool to perform the work, keep costs low, speed delivery timelines and ensure safe installation and operation.
Leveraging existing capital
To unlock Michigan’s portion of NEVI formula funding, we must provide a 20% non-federal match. Utility dollars are considered private and, therefore, can be part of the match. We also are exploring how we might dovetail the NEVI formula program with awards from the $2.5 billion federal Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program.
Understanding the future
We have tapped into our EV industry alliances and partnerships to understand future battery sizes, power acceptance rates and ranges, so the charging stations we install today remain relevant tomorrow.
Bringing the future to Michigan
Implementation of Michigan’s EVID plan is a giant step toward achieving our ultimate vision of a safe, equitable, reliable, convenient and interconnected transportation electrification network that enables the efficient movement of people, improves the quality of life, spurs economic growth, protects Michigan’s environment and facilitates data collection. With our state partners, we are confident we can achieve that goal by efficiently and cost-effectively bringing EV technology to as many Michiganders as possible.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Niles Annelin, Manager, Policy Section
Bureau of Transportation Planning
Michigan Department of Transportation
Niles Annelin is a policy section manager with the Michigan Department of Transportation. Niles began his career at MDOT as a transportation planner, later working on connected and automated vehicle and environmental policy. Niles holds a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning from Michigan State University.
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