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Whitmer orders Michigan fleets to be electric by 2040

Order follows automakers hitting the brakes on EVs as 4,000 auto dealers signed a letter asking President Biden to stop mandating the EV transition.

Published: December 6, 2023 11:43am

(The Center Square) -

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order to transition the state's fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

Whitmer says the move will reduce air pollution, help boost demand for Michigan-made electric vehicles and lower fuel and maintenance costs.

“Michigan automakers are on the cutting-edge of the world’s switch to zero emission vehicles, and with today’s executive directive to transition our state-owned fleet by 2040, the State of Michigan is leading by example,” Whitmer said in a statement. “With today’s executive directive, I am directing state agencies to begin the process of converting vehicles owned and operated by the state to ZEVs by 2033 for light-duty vehicles and 2040 for medium and heavy-duty vehicles.

The directive tells departments to prioritize the transition vehicles that travel the most miles first and vehicles in communities historically impacted by higher pollution and to install electric vehicle supply equipment, including publicly accessible chargers, in high-density areas.

The order follows automakers hitting the brakes on EVs as 4,000 auto dealers signed a letter asking President Joe Biden to stop mandating the EV transition as EVs are “stacking up” on lots.

However, EV drivers on road trips and going further distances in the Midwest face "range anxiety" because of a sparse charging network and a fluctuating mileage range based on driver habit.

Michigan has fallen more than 1.9 million EVs short of reaching its climate goal of 2 million EVs driving on Michigan roads by 2030. To reach its EV goal, Michigan must register 23,400 EVs every month for seven years.

For context, Michigan has 34,380 EVs registered currently.

Kelley Blue Book says the average price of an EV in September 2022 was $65,291. Meanwhile, the average price for a gas-powered vehicle was $48,100, and many used gas-powered cars cost between $5,000 and $15,000.

EVs should cost less to maintain over time because they have fewer moving parts and require no oil changes. However, a Wall Street Journal report found EVs can cost more and take longer to repair.

Glenn Stevens Jr., executive director of MICHauto, welcomed the move.

“Moving our state vehicles to clean energy propulsion systems is a significant step towards Michigan’s leadership as a clean energy economy,” he said in a statement. “Our state fleet will be a leading example of zero-emission vehicles on our roads and will help set a precedent for all public and personal transportation to move in this direction.”

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