Businesses Call on Michigan Governor to Support Electric Trucks and Buses

May 12, 2021

Businesses Call on Michigan Governor to Support Electric Trucks and Buses

Fifty-eight businesses urged Gov. Whitmer to join the multi-state agreement to electrify medium- and heavy-duty vehicles

Washington, D.C.— Dozens of businesses, including global vehicle manufacturing leaders, urged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to support the electrification of trucks and buses throughout Michigan. The Electrification Coalition delivered a letter Wednesday signed by 58 businesses, asking the governor to join the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, pledging that at least 30 percent of all new trucks and buses sold in Michigan will be zero-emission vehicles by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have already signed onto the agreement. Michigan’s participation would build on Gov. Whitmer’s existing work to advance the adoption of electric vehicles, including the creation of the Council on Future Mobility and Electrification and significant investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“Volvo Trucks is committed to advancing electromobility, both globally and right here in the United States,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “Gov. Whitmer’s participation in the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle MOU would send a strong message to the market that Michigan is ready for vehicle manufacturers to invest in and deploy zero-emission trucks here. These investments will bring good jobs, clean air, energy security and climate protection.”

Volvo Trucks North America has begun delivering its Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 truck model this year, and the company aims for its global product range to be fossil free by 2040. Other signatories on the letter to Gov. Whitmer include Amply, EVgo, Mack, Proterra, Rivian, Siemens, Nestlé USA and more than 50 other large and small businesses throughout the state.

“We rely on trucks to keep our businesses going every day,” said Kris Spaulding, owner of Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids and Broad Leaf Brewery and Spirits in Kentwood. “We feel strongly that those trucks should be electric in the very near future, and we encourage Gov. Whitmer to take action to accelerate the transition. It’s the right thing to do for Michigan’s economy, air quality and energy security.”

The United States is the world’s largest consumer of petroleum, accounting for one-fifth of global daily supply; oil accounts for more than 90 percent of energy use in the U.S. transportation sector. The country’s overwhelming dependence on oil has broad implications for public health, national security, the climate and the future of American manufacturing jobs.

Robust public investment and regulatory reform along the EV supply chain has the potential to create more than 500,000 jobs across the United States over a five-year period, according to a report by the Electrification Coalition and Securing America’s Future Energy. Nearly 154,000 of those jobs would stem from incentives that make it less expensive to purchase medium- and heavy-duty EVs like trucks and buses. Ford Motor Company announced last month a new global battery center in southeast Michigan to accelerate research and development of battery and battery-cell technology, including future manufacturing.

“Michigan’s participation in the agreement to electrify trucks and buses is imperative to maintaining the state’s leadership in automotive manufacturing, with major implications for the economy and future jobs,” said Ben Prochazka, executive director of the Electrification Coalition. “The electrification of transportation is a question of when – not if. And with China working aggressively to be the global dominator in EV manufacturing, Michigan will be critical to ensuring our country’s global automotive leadership.”

Vehicles are a leading source of air pollutants that affect human health. Vehicle emissions contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, which can trigger health problems such as aggravated asthma, reduced lung capacity and increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia and bronchitis. Transportation is also the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

“Our business serves hundreds of thousands of Michiganders every year, and the ongoing success of our industry depends upon a stable climate,” said Jim MacInnes, CEO of Crystal Mountain, a ski area and resort near Traverse City. “Electrification of trucks and buses is a vital strategy for emissions reductions, and as global leader in the mobility sector, Michigan needs to broadly support zero-emission vehicle deployment in this critical industry segment.”

Motor vehicles, particularly those used for freight, are also a major source of particulate matter, which is linked to lung cancer, heart attacks and other health issues. Low-income and minority communities are more likely to be located near highways and other transportation facilities that lead to negative health effects resulting from vehicle emissions.

According to the American Lung Association, widespread adoption of electric vehicles by 2050 would result in an estimated savings of $72 billion per year in health costs nationally. In Michigan alone, the annual benefits would include $1.7 billion in avoided health-impact costs, 145 premature deaths avoided, 1,837 asthma attacks avoided and 8,253 lost work days avoided.

“Gov. Whitmer has an opportunity to set Michigan up for success in a way that will yield economic and environmental benefits for decades to come,” said Abass El-Hage, CEO of Detroit-based Hage Auto, which specializes in EV charging infrastructure development and fleet electrification services. “My business is living proof of the direction the transportation sector is headed. If Michigan wants to continue to be a world leader in the automotive industry, we need to be on the leading edge of electrification.”

 

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About the Electrification Coalition: The Electrification Coalition is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to policies and actions that facilitate widespread deployment and adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) to combat the economic, public health, and national security threats posed by America’s dependence on oil. For more information, visit electrificationcoalition.org.