It’s been a crazy month for news about electric vehicles and what they can do for Michigan’s economy, Michigan’s workers and Michigan’s environment.
We have a lot to talk about, so buckle your seatbelts.
First up, our friends at Green Car Reports have reported exciting details about a new Chevy Sonic EV, which looks like it will be adapted from the next-generation Sonic due out in the 2017 model year. Media reports have been pretty cagey, but there’s a lot of speculation that the Sonic will hit a 200-mile range on a single charge, putting the GM model on a par with Tesla.
The best part of the story for us here at the Built by Michigan coalition? The new Sonic will be built on GM's next-generation 'Gamma' platform at the assembly plant in Lake Orion, according to Green Car Reports.
GM CEO Mary Barra announced more exciting news for Michigan workers at the Detroit Economic Club at the end of October: the automaker is planning to move production of the electric-drive unit for the next-generation Chevrolet Volt to Michigan from Mexico. The move to build the unit in Warren is just the latest GM investment by GM in the state, now totaling more than $1.8 billion just on projects dedicated to vehicle electrification.
Check out the video:
But wait! There’s more.
Chrysler, the pioneer of the long-profitable minivan segment and still an industry leader in the category, confirmed the company will bring its plug-in hybrid minivan to market late next year, a year ahead of its previously announced schedule.
This could fill a gaping hole in the market, assuming they spec and price it right.
“Chrysler presently has no hybrids for sale in the U.S. and here it is launching a vehicle in a type that proved successful before – and indeed, there is a gaping hole other automakers have chosen not to fill,” according to a reports on Hybrid Cars.
This is just the above-the-fold news on electric vehicles lately. I hope you’ll look at the rest of the newsletter for stories about great places to install charging stations, how municipal and state governments are stepping up to support the industry, and how utilities can make it even cheaper to drive electric.
With so much going on, we thought we might need to do two newsletters this month, but have tried to cram as much as we can into one. Read on for interesting reports from all around the country. And if you’re as geeked as I am about what the electric-vehicle industry can do for Michigan, I hope you’ll like us on Facebook, where we post updates nearly every day.
In the meantime, thanks for everything you’re doing to build a better Michigan,
Climate & Energy Program Director
The Ecology Center