Getting a charge out of 'Drive Electric' week

Dear Reader,

We really got a charge last week seeing the energy out there for electric vehicles and Michigan’s advanced battery industry.

Three big events were held to celebrate National Drive Electric Week, offering a variety of ways EV advocates could share information and enthusiasm.

In East Lansing last Thursday, a panel discussion looked at the future of plug-in vehicles in the capital region, building on the community’s significant progress over the last five years. Then at the Novi Battery Show, EV advocates and industry representatives talked about how public education and advocacy could build support for the state’s advanced battery industry. And just last Friday, dozens of electric vehicle drivers and enthusiasts got together to highlight the fun, clean-air benefits, and cost-savings of electric cars at Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor. EV owners shared their experiences with potential buyers and showcased a variety of electric vehicles so visitors could kick the tires and look under the hoods.

The Ann Arbor city government gave the electric vehicle two pushes last week, symbolically with a proclamation issued by Mayor John Hieftje in support of Drive Electric week, and practically with the formation of the Drive Electric Ann Arbor Partnership (DEA2P) to support wider adoption of electric vehicles in the community.

“Ann Arbor has always been a leader in the adoption of new technologies that are environmentally friendly,” Hieftje said. “We’re happy to support collaborative approaches for expanding electric vehicle infrastructure in Ann Arbor consistent with our community’s climate goals.”
(Hieftje is third from right in this photo with electric vehicles and EV supporters.)

The city’s Climate Action Plan, adopted in 2012, includes recommendations to encourage electric vehicles and EV infrastructure as part of efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

In recent years, Ann Arbor’s Downtown Development Authority has installed 18 publicly available EV charging stations at city parking garages, and their use has grown consistently. In addition, the University of Michigan, Washtenaw Community College, DTE and other institutions and businesses in the region have also installed charging stations.
The DEA2P includes the city, the Downtown Development Authority, non-profit organizations, DTE, U-M and local businesses.

One of the partnership’s first initiatives is the creation of a web page on the city’s information for consumers and businesses about electric vehicles and where they can be charged in the city.

The city also announced new guidelines for commercial developments to encourage developers to consider installing electric-vehicle charging stations when a new project is proposed.

Electric vehicles are hugely important to Michigan because so many of them are designed and manufactured by Michigan companies and also because Michigan is a center for advanced battery research and development. At the Built by Michigan coalition, we’ve long advocated for just the kind of progress we saw around the region last week: public agencies, businesses, organizations and individuals coming together to find ways to build and advance this industry.

I know that you’re one of those individuals out there advocating for Michigan’s continued leadership into the transportation future, and thanks for all you do.

Charles Griffith
Climate & Energy Program Director
The Ecology Center