Executive Summary of "Electric Vehicles: Connecting Michigan's Past and Future"
The following is the executive summary of the Michigan LCV Education Fund report "Electric Vehicles: Connecting Michigan's Past and Future." The full report can be download here: Electric Vehicles - Connecting Michigan's Past and Future.pdf
Michigan is at a crossroads. For over 100 years, it has been the center of the automotive industry, creating an empire and a heritage that successfully dominated the field. The recent decline in automotive jobs, however, paired with the continuing high unemployment rate in Michigan, all indicate that the state must diversify its economy and even its most famous industry. Electric vehicles present an ideal opportunity with remarkable benefits. Fortunately, Michigan is already well on its way in building the connection from its deep automotive past into its electrifying future.
The electric vehicle (EV) industry presents an optimal solution because it utilizes Michigan’s automotive legacy and experience in a new and positive way. Michigan’s existing manufacturing infrastructure, proximity to educational institutions, and wealth of engineering talent make it the best possible location for an EV industry cluster. It is an investment that will bring sustained job creation and economic growth to the state.
Since the early 1900s, Michigan has been the epicenter of vehicle manufacturing and, as a result, possesses the greatest wealth of automotive infrastructure and skill in the world. In turn, this existing capacity attracts players that are involved in the EV industry. Companies such as Johnson Controls, Magna Electronics, and A123 Systems either traveled to Michigan or expanded operations within the state as a direct consequence of these advantages. Michigan is the ideal location for this industry as it provides the automotive expertise that only 100 years of experience can produce.
Moreover, Michigan’s educational institutions are working around the clock to provide the necessary training to supply this burgeoning industry with experienced graduates. These new programs, with their historic engineering excellence, are helping to foster partnerships between industry and academia, advancing the technology at a rapid rate, and further convincing companies to locate their operations in close proximity. Additionally, the EV industry is providing students with novel avenues of study, and thus, new opportunities to stay in the state after graduation. This budding industry is effectively bringing in new companies and fighting the debilitating brain drain, simultaneously.
Federal and state incentives have also paved the way in preparing Michigan to be the nation’s leader in the EV industry. As a result of these significant investments, the state is now the advanced battery center of North America, and other components of the supply chain are following. This new industry promises sustained jobs and economic growth due to its potential to become an industry cluster - a concentration of special industrial activity.
Put simply, Michigan is the best location for this new industry cluster. It has the manufacturing history and infrastructure, concentration of excellent educational resources, and capacity for production that no other state can offer. However, more work remains to be done. It is now in Michigan’s interest to develop policies designed to encourage EV usage on the consumer side, which will help guarantee a sustained EV industry cluster within the state. It is time to electrify Michigan’s future.