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Michigan Mobility and Electrification Report

Michigan Business Network
January 13, 2021 4:00 PM

header-mi-mobility.jpg2021 is kicking off with a refresh of the PlanetM Mobility Report. While the report has a new name – the Michigan Mobility and Electrification Report – it remains the same direct link from the pulse of the automotive and mobility capitol of the world to your inbox.

In a year marked by uncertainty and disruption, 2020 also saw some significant momentum across the mobility ecosystem, including:

  • The launch of the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification in July.
  • The announcement of the Michigan Mobility Corridor – a 40-mile, first-of-its-kind connected and autonomous vehicle corridor to improve transportation across Southeast Michigan and continue Michigan’s leadership in smart infrastructure and future mobility.
  • The awarding of COVID-19 Mobility Solutions Grants, including Pratt Miller’s autonomous robot Safi.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy’s announcement of more than $7 million in funding to develop infrastructure that protects the electric grid from cyber-attacks on electric vehicles (EV) and electric vehicle charging systems, in partnership with the state of Michigan, the American Center for Mobility and other industry partners.

    Building on this momentum, the Michigan Mobility and Electrification Report will continue to deliver key announcements, stories from the changing landscape in investments and business development, and trends and policy making that are shaping regulation that will affect how people and things move in Michigan and beyond.

Stay connected to the resources dedicated to Michigan’s evolution in future mobility and electrification by visiting michiganbusiness.org/ofme/, and join the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Mark Your Calendar: Trevor Pawl, Michigan's Chief Mobility Officer to Talk Public-Private Partnerships and Connected Mobility at CES 2021

Vehicles are no longer defined solely by their make and model as we lunge into the era of the autonomous and electric vehicles. Today’s global automotive ecosystem is now defined through a series of partnerships between integrated technology from multiple sources - requiring collaborative business models between organizations and industries to ensure all voices are speaking in harmony to meet customer expectations.

CES 2021 attendees can hear from Michigan’s Chief Mobility Officer, Trevor Pawl, in a keynote presentation as part of a half-day online program including three other panels that will focus on the state of connected mobility.

Mobility Spotlight: 18 Chargers Added to Michigan's EV Charging Infrastructure

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) awarded nearly $500,000 in grant funding to fund two rapid EV charging stations each in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Northville, Shelby Township, Marshall, Owosso, Mt. Pleasant, Indian River, Marshall and Marlette.

This is the second round of state funding for direct current chargers, including a previous EGLE grant of $1.7M in funding for 36 fast-charging stations with 76 plug-in points throughout the state.

Through the Charge Up Michigan Program, the state is offering up to $70K per charging station to public or private entities in partnership with the host site and local utility for site preparation, installation, signage and network fees. Applicants for Upper Peninsula, northern Lower Peninsula and locations near the Ohio and Indiana borders will be given priority consideration. 

Disinfecting Robots Expand Service to Detroit Metro Airport

New Hudson-based Pratt Miller is keeping Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) travelers safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with Safi, a disinfectant applying, autonomous robot, with the support of a COVID-19 Mobility Solution grant.

Safi was piloted at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids through support from the grant program. Congratulations to Pratt Miller for its successful pilot rollout and the continued momentum for its disinfecting robot technology. The company hopes to apply the same technology in other settings such as casinos or stadiums when patrons can safely return to in-person events.

Detroit Road and Pavement Conditions Tracked in Real Time with New Software Partnership

The City of Detroit and Israel-based Tactile Mobility have partnered to improve Detroit’s pavement conditions and optimize care and maintenance.

Tactile’s software collects road condition data continuously and accurately through a pavement rating score for each road segment that helps inform maintenance crew which segments should be prioritized. Tactile Mobility was also supported by a PlanetM grant.

Resources and Opportunities

Michigan: At the Intersection of Mobility and Innovation

Jessica Robinson: A prepared work force can fuel new ‘Arsenal of Mobility’ (Automotive News SHIFT Podcast, Episode 75)

Accelerating Growth Through U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnerships

Does your company have a unique physical cleantech hardware product, process, or prototype? The Centropolis Accelerator at Lawrence Tech University can help launch your product, scale a new or existing product and help you achieve profitability.

Apply here if this could benefit you and your company.

Upcoming Events
In the News

2021 Detroit Auto Show canceled, replaced by outdoor Motor Bella event
The Detroit Auto Show as we know it will soon be a thing of the past. Having canceled last year's event, organizers on Monday officially canned the 2021 North American International Auto Show, which will be replaced by a new, outdoor program called Motor Bella.

Motor Bella will run from Sept. 21-26 with press and industry previews taking place from Sept. 21-23. The show will open to the public on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 23, and will run through Sunday, Sept. 26. This is a significantly shorter timetable than previous Detroit Auto Shows, which were historically open to the public for at least a full week.

Motor Bella is being billed as "a bridge to the future" as organizers reconsider the traditional auto show formula. It's no secret the COVID-19 pandemic took quite a toll on public events around the world, and Motor Bella is Detroit's way of reimagining the whole auto show experience

19 industry leaders share their wish lists for 2021
A new year begins. A new U.S. government is seated in Washington, with new attitudes about trade and industry and the environment. New vaccines are being distributed to begin unshackling the marketplace from a year of pandemic.
In short, January 2021 represents a potential turning point — a window opening on an opportunity to start afresh, to reset, to straighten up old accounts, to improve.
"How would you make the most of this moment?" Automotive News asked executives and thought leaders around the industry.

The electric car’s future starts this year, research report says
It's a new year and predictions for the auto industry are rolling in. At least one prominent research firm says this year will mark the end of the beginning for electric cars. ABI Research issued its 2021 Trend Report this past Wednesday and its conclusion is EVs will start trickling into the mainstream this year.

Sure, Tesla is well-known, but its cars certainly aren't widespread. The company delivered just under 500,000 EVs last year by its count. By comparison, Americans bought over three million pickup trucks alone in 2019. Despite the automaker's success, it's got a long way to go before a Tesla in someone's garage isn't a conversation piece. Ditto for any other car manufacturer looking to sell EVs in the coming years -- and that's basically, well, all of them.

Starting in 2021, ABI Research said EVs will start to gain traction in the market, largely driven by more affordable models scheduled to start rolling into dealerships throughout this year. By the end of this decade, EVs may make up a quarter of all new vehicles shipped. If the trajectory pans out, it would be a remarkable shift for the industry.

The ‘Apple Car’ chatter is back with new reports pointing to a 2024 launch date
The demise of the Apple car, the technology giant’s not-so-secret secret project, was perhaps overstated. Apple’s so-called Project Titan, which last year reduced the team by some 200 employees, is not only alive, it has plans to produce an electric passenger vehicle with “breakthrough battery technology” and automated vehicle technology by 2024, according to a report from Reuters.

It’s unclear what the vehicle will look like, who will be the manufacturing partner or if the self-driving system that Apple has been working on will be part of the car or offered as a software product to other companies. The Reuters article builds off of another report from Taiwanese media outlet Economic Daily Times, which describes Apple ramping up orders for auto parts and components from suppliers in the country. Together, the reports offer confirmation that Apple, while quiet and with a smaller team, hasn’t ditched the idea of a car after all.

Reuters sources describe this as a passenger vehicle, which would put Apple in a different category than autonomous vehicle technology companies like Waymo that are trying to commercialize robotaxi services. (Waymo has said that it is also interested in licensing its AV tech for passenger vehicles, but it’s not the company’s first priority.)

Tesla fell just short of delivering 500,000 vehicles in 2020
Tesla fell just shy of hitting CEO Elon Musk’s goal of delivering 500,000 vehicles in 2020, the company announced Saturday, having shipped a record 499,550 throughout the year — or 99.91 percent. Tesla said the final tally could vary by as much as 0.5 percent, though, so it’s possible that it will eclipse the 500,000 mark by the time it reveals the ultimate figures in its full year results, due out at the end of January.

Either way, that’s more than double what the next-largest sellers of electric vehicles did in 2020, like China’s BYD or Germany’s Volkswagen. And it’s a remarkable recovery for Tesla considering the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on its operations during the first half of the year. While Tesla said in January 2020 that it expected to “comfortably exceed” Musk’s goal of shipping 500,000 cars worldwide by the end of the year, the company had to close its new factory in China as well as its vehicle plant in Fremont, California for several weeks as the virus spread.

Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot Approve Merger They Need to Survive
Shareholders of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA, the French maker of Peugeot, Citroën and Opel cars, voted on Monday to merge in an effort to acquire the scale necessary to survive in an industry gripped by technological change and pummeled by the pandemic.

The new company, to be called Stellantis, will employ 400,000 people and include the Jeep, Ram Trucks, Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands. It would be the world’s fourth-largest carmaker, after Toyota, Volkswagen and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, based on vehicle sales during the first nine months of 2020.

Executives of Fiat Chrysler and PSA agreed at the end of 2019 to merge and have been working out the details and securing regulatory approval since then.

Michigan Business Network is an online broadcasting company that provides knowledge, news, and insights into Michigan’s businesses, industries, and economy.