How Michigan is driving a greener mobility future
Posted: July 26, 2023 | Word Count: 975
As the car capital of the world, Michigan has steered itself to be at the forefront of the next mobility revolution. The automotive industry faces a historic shift from the internal combustion engine to the electric batteries powering cars and trucks, with this transition dramatically altering the future of the automotive industry.
The switch to electric vehicles (EVs) will also have a profound impact on the environment. EVs emit no greenhouse gases, which are the leading cause of climate change. Today, the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gases, accounting for about 30% of total emissions in the United States. Passenger vehicles contribute nearly 60% of transportation’s share of emissions.
As a leader in clean energy, no state is better positioned than Michigan to decarbonize the automotive industry. Climate action also presents immediate and long-term opportunities to create economic growth and support good-paying jobs.
The state’s economic development arm, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), is committed to building on Michigan’s skilled workforce and strengths in manufacturing and the automotive sector to accelerate the transition to a cleaner, more equitable mobility future. The state also wants to share its knowledge and successes with the world — to build on its manufacturing success, history of innovation and skilled workforce to be a beacon of responsible growth in creating a greener future.
A coordinated mobility strategy
Michigan leads the nation in auto production, with nearly 19% of all cars and trucks made in the state. The state is also home to 26 automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and 96 of the top 100 automotive suppliers in North America. And the mobility industry supports one out of every five workers in Michigan — contributing $304 billion annually to the state economy.
This creates a foundation that positions Michigan at the helm of the next generation of clean mobility through its clear vision and strategic investments in advanced manufacturing, the battery supply chain and workforce development. All three are essential to creating the EV ecosystem that will drive sustainable innovation, as well as attract new businesses and private investments.
The state is already pioneering a new way forward for the industry with the nation’s first Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. The office supports a comprehensive statewide approach to help government, education and the private sector drive EV advancement. Michigan is also working to ensure it stays at the forefront of mobility innovation by expanding smart infrastructure and engaging with startups. For example, Michigan is developing a first-of-its-kind system in the U.S. that embeds technology in the pavement that can charge EVs while driving.
The transition to cleaner mobility will also require manufacturers of all sizes to adopt advanced manufacturing technologies and practices to unlock innovation and remain competitive. To be a catalyst for change and further underscore Michigan’s status as the global epicenter of mobility and manufacturing, the state has been selected for the first U.S. Center for Advanced Manufacturing, in partnership with the World Economic Forum. The center engages the national manufacturing ecosystem in shaping an agenda to improve the productivity and sustainability of the sector.
Building the country’s battery production hub
One of the biggest challenges in the transition to EVs is ensuring a stable and secure supply of lithium-based batteries. The proximity of battery plants to assembly plants is also critical.
Michigan is working with automakers and battery makers to expand battery production in the state to meet the demands of a growing EV market. Since the beginning of 2022, Michigan has seen significant commitments to new projects and jobs, including:
- General Motors investing $7 billion, creating 4,000 and retaining 1,000 jobs, to convert the Orion Township assembly plant to build full-size EV pickups and build Ultium’s third U.S. battery cell plant in Lansing.
- Ford Motor Company investing $3.5 billion to build the BlueOval Battery Park Michigan, an EV battery plant in Marshall that will employ 2,500 people. The investment is in addition to the $2 billion the company plans to spend across Michigan to support EV manufacturing growth.
- LG Energy Solution investing $1.7 billion and creating 1,200 jobs to expand its battery plant in Holland.
- Our Next Energy investing $1.6 billion and creating 2,112 jobs to establish its first-ever battery manufacturing campus in Van Buren Township.
Recruiting and retaining talent
Last year, Michigan attracted over $14 billion in EV and battery investments. The state’s workforce is a big reason businesses locate and expand in the state. In fact, Michigan has more engineers per capita than anywhere else in the nation, and an unmatched skilled trades labor population. The future talent pipeline is also robust. Michigan’s University Research Corridor — an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University — prepares nearly 15,000 graduates a year for careers in the mobility industry.
Michigan is also rising to meet the growing demand for talent and skills in the surging EV and mobility sector, including software developers and electrical engineers. MEDC’s new Talent Action Team leads an unprecedented recruitment effort in a public-private partnership with 14 major Michigan employers, public universities and community colleges. One of its initiatives, The Michigander EV Scholars program, will provide $10,000 scholarships to as many as 350 top tech students at participating universities who sign a letter of employment with an approved company and commit to staying for 12 months in the Great Lakes State.
Through the collective actions of MEDC and its partners, Michigan serves as a role model of how the public and private sectors can together support the creation of more equitable and sustainable transportation for all.
To learn more about Michigan’s agenda to become a global leader in a cleaner, greener and more equitable mobility future, watch the video at https://puremi.ch/4061cVN.