The Rapidian

EV Coalition Launches in West Michigan

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Press Conference Announcing Built by Michigan Coalition to gain support from Gov. Snyder and the State Legislature for the Electric Vehicle Industry
Speakers from the Press Conference this morning.

Speakers from the Press Conference this morning.

Underwriting support from:

A coalition of elected officials, environmental advocates and businessman launched the Built By Michigan campaign in a press conference at WMEAC headquarters today.

The campaign was introduced through the signing of the petition to urge Michigan legislature and Gov Snyder to support the growing success of Michigan's electric car industry. The goals of this petition include:

  • backing U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow's proposed legislation, the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act, that gives direct rebates instead of the current tax credit to electric car buyers,
  • encouraging the purchase of electric vehicles by state and other fleet vehicles purchasers,
  • providing financial incentives for the installation of  jobsite and public electric vehicle charging stations, and
  • implementing clean fuel standards for Michigan vehicles that require an increasing percentage of electricity and other alternative fuels.

Grand Rapids State Representative Brandon Dillion, Former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, now of the Blue Green Alliance/Jobs 21,  Brian Isch from Berger Chevrolet, Grand Rapids City Commissioner Ruth Kelly, (shown left to right in photo) and Ryan Werder,Michigan League of Conservation Voters, all spoke in favor of the electric car industry.

The birthplace of the automobile industry, Michigan could be looking at the new face of the auto industry. The Detroit-Hamtramck Plant, current manufacturer of the Chevrolet Volt has created many jobs with the introduction of the electric car.  Ford is set to invest $1 million to modernize its Michigan assembly plants to be able to produce the new Focus and Electric Focus and Nissan is ready to create 1,000 jobs in their assembly plants to work on the Leaf.

Grand Rapids is getting ready for the electric car revolution by installing more charging stations. City Commissioner Kelly reports alternative fuel corridors are in the works between I-196 and I96 between Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Holland with 100 suitable locations for charging stations. Grand Rapids will be getting five more charging stations located in city-owned parking structures.

Brian Isch from Berger Chevrolet spoke about the nuts and bolts of the Volt.

“Eighty percent of Americans drive less than 40 miles per day. The Chevy Volt answers those needs with a totally electric experience that costs about a $1.50 per day.”

Isch noted how valuable this will be to Volt drivers if gas prices climb to  $5/gallon this summer, as expected.  If gasoline is never used, the MPG is around 250, depending on your driving habits, 93 MPG is the average for gasoline/electric fuel economy. This is balanced with the current cost of $41,000 for the electric vehicle, with a $7,500 tax credit.

But, as with many other new technologies, this is the pioneer product. Costs should come down as it becomes more widely used and accepted.

A current owner of the Volt reports high levels of satisfaction, with good acceleration and torque, a comfortable ride as well as the feeling of doing something good for the environment.

Grand Rapids State Rep. Brandon Dillion agreed that our workforce in Michigan is “the best in the world” and is well suited to jump into the electric vehicle industry.

"We need to do a lot more in Lansing to encourage a field and industry in the development of electric vehicles and the support network with charging stations. It’s going to be important for people to have that choice to purchase an electric vehicle, so we can make it easier for them.”

Dillon said that while he was disappointed he couldn't speak on behalf of the entire legislature, he knew some of his Grand Rapids colleagues were supportive.

Schauer added that having these electric vehicles spotlighted in Michigan will attract other smart business and industry. Producing the Volt and its batteries is just the beginning and a good choice for our state. After all we would not just be investing in a vehicle, but in the whole state’s economy.

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