Legislators propose first statewide electric vehicle charging network in the nation


June 26, 2019

Read the original article on Driven here.

LANSING — Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), along with legislators from the House and Senate, today announced a bipartisan package to support the growth of electric vehicles in Michigan and establish the first statewide charging network in the nation.

The four-bill package would:

  • Create the Electric Vehicle Council within the Michigan Department of Transportation. The council, comprised of experts in energy, technology, transportation, environment, economic development and other related fields, would be tasked with developing a plan for a statewide charging infrastructure in coordination with utilities and private companies;
  • Allow the state to install or lease space for electric vehicle charging stations at state park and rides;
  • Allow the state to install or lease space for electric charging stations in state parks, generating revenue for the park system; and,
  • Provide tax incentives for small businesses and multi-unit housing to install electric vehicle charging stations.

“Michigan built the American automotive industry, but it’s an industry that’s changing more rapidly now than any other time before. No other state has the history, talent and capability to design and build the next generation of electric vehicles, but we need to have the infrastructure in place to support that development,” Sen. McMorrow said. “These bills encourage our state to create a collaborative and coordinated plan, working with private companies, small businesses, utilities and various state departments to build out the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, making Michigan the first fully networked state.”

MICHauto, an economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, supports the legislation. “The industry is rapidly transforming; our automotive companies are integrating emerging technologies for all aspects of next-generation mobility. With a commitment to sustainability and solving global issues, Michigan’s signature industry and leaders are working together to lead the nation in bringing electric vehicles and the needed infrastructure to our state,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “I applaud Senator McMorrow for her leadership and commitment to Michigan’s competitiveness.”

Eight state senators and representatives join Sen. McMorrow in introducing the bill package.

Rep. Julie Alexander (R-Jackson), sponsor of House Bill 4788, on charging stations and tourism: “This is an opportunity to give residents and visitors what they need as they explore our state. Installing charging stations at state parks will ensure people have the infrastructure they need to get from one point to the next, support local businesses and enjoy the natural beauty and recreation opportunities across our state park system.”

Rep. Joe Bellino (R-Monroe), sponsor of House Bill 4789, on the benefit to businesses: “This electric vehicle legislation would preserve good automotive jobs as the industry continues to shift, reduce taxes on businesses and encourage those who stop to charge vehicles to put dollars back into our local economies while they wait. This bill gets it done for Michigan residents and our state as a whole.”

Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), sponsor of Senate Bill 408, on establishing charging stations to ease travel for commuters:

“Allowing charging stations to be installed at park and rides along our state’s highways will give drivers confidence that they can reach their destination no matter where they travel within our beautiful state.”

Rep. David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids), co-sponsor of the package on supporting the growth of electric vehicles:

“As a small business owner, I know that this package of bills would not only support our state’s changing automotive industry, but also infuse dollars into our economy overall as drivers stop in communities, state parks and downtowns to charge their vehicles. This is a smart step to support Michigan jobs as the automotive industry continues to evolve, protect our environment, give residents what they need and generate additional state revenue.”

Sen. Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Township), sponsor of Senate Bill 407, on adding charging stations in state parks:

“As electric vehicles become more prevalent, it will be important that we have the necessary infrastructure in place at our state parks to ensure both residents and visitors alike have the ability to charge their vehicles while they enjoy Michigan’s great outdoors. This bill is both good for the economy and the environment.”

Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor), sponsor of House Bill 4787, on the installation of charging stations at park and rides: “Our automotive industry is changing and, as automakers continue to develop cars with less impact on our environment, we must also do what we can to support the jobs workers and suppliers across the state depend on. Establishing a reliable charging station infrastructure at Michigan’s park and ride locations will mean more drivers can feel confident opting for electric vehicles and automotive companies can employ more workers to develop these next generation technologies.

Rep. Tim Sneller (D-Burton), sponsor of House Bill 4786, on automotive innovation and technology: “As Michiganders, we take pride in our state’s history as a leader in automotive innovation. Electric vehicles will be a critical aspect of our transportation future, and we should continue to lead by example by embracing its continued development. The Electric Vehicle Council will play a crucial role in developing a comprehensive charging infrastructure plan and ensuring our state is prepared to support this transformative technology.”

Detroit is Electric Motor City in a Frenzied Battle for Auto Engineering talent

March 9, 2019

Detroit Free Press

By: Mark Phelan

After years when Detroit was Ground Zero for skepticism about electric vehicles, the traditional auto industry’s hometown has become a hub of EV action.

The trend is attracting companies, cash and jobs — potentially including jobs for engineers and executives displaced by restructuring at General Motors and Ford.

At the same time, established automakers and suppliers are boosting their work on EVs at their local engineering centers, making southeast Michigan one of the world’s centers of EV development.

Companies come for the region’s talent, a bounty of engineers and executives who know how to turn ideas into vehicles that start every day, survive crashes and can be built by the million.

“For more than a century, companies in and around Detroit have refined complex electromechanical devices to make them smaller, cheaper, and more reliable for mass-market use in cars,” said John Voelcker, former editor of Green Car Reports.

“That’s what auto engineers do. And more of them do it around Detroit than anywhere else in North America.”

Rivian Automotive, which got a major endorsement when Amazon recently invested $700 million, is a prime example. The developer of electric pickups and SUVs drew huge crowds when it showed its first two models at the Los Angeles auto show late last year. Rivian moved its headquarters to Plymouth, just west of Detroit, in 2015. More than 350 people work there in design and engineering. Rivian plans to build vehicles at a former Chrysler and Mitsubishi plant that it owns in Illinois.

Money talks

“When somebody puts in $700 million, it gets your attention,” said Glenn Stevens of MichAuto and the Detroit Regional Chamber, both of which work with companies that may invest and expand in the region.

Bollinger Motors last year relocated its headquarters, engineering and design from New York state to Ferndale, just north of Detroit on the Woodward Avenue corridor. Employment is just a handful now as Bollinger completes prototypes for electric pickups and SUVs scheduled for production in small numbers starting in 2020. The company hopes to build the B1 SUV and B2 pickup in Southeast Michigan.

“Everything we can, we’re going to do in Detroit,” Bollinger brand director Mark Foster said. Like most people, executives considering investment and hiring in the region frequently use “Detroit” as a shorthand that encompasses much of southeast Michigan.

Detroit Custom Chassis’ plant on Detroit’s east side just began installing powertrains and controls from Motiv Power Systems in Ford F-59 truck frames for electric medium-duty vehicles such as delivery vans

“Companies come here for the talent, experience and because we have test facilities and a physical environment with extremes of hot and cold, snow and rain for testing,” said Lou Donato of the Society of Automotive Engineers.

‘Town is swimming in talent’

The giants are on board alongside the newcomers. Ford’s high-profile plan to turn Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood into a center of electric and autonomous vehicle development added momentum.

More quietly, GM has reorganized its whole engineering structure to speed up development of a host of electric and autonomous vehicles.

“Every automaker is terrified of being left behind,” said Drew Winter, Wards Automotive content director. “Even though they won’t sell millions of EV in the immediate future, they have to gear up now.

“We’re seeing the beginnings of an industry that’s changing.”

Welcome to the Electric Motor City.

“This town is swimming in talent,” said Jim Taylor, a veteran auto executive and engineer who led several brands at GM and has worked with startup EV makers. “The battle to develop these vehicles is a people war. To be a credible manufacturer, you need to fill 600-700 seats with the skills needed to take a vehicle from design to the dealership.

“Draw a 30-mile circle around Detroit and you find more people with that skill set than anywhere else. It’s the technology hub. That’s what draws these companies.

“You win the battle resumé by resumé.”

Help wanted

GM’s recent white-collar layoffs could be a bonanza for EV companies, Taylor said. That many people with that kind of experience don’t come on the market often. They may be available just when new EV companies need them.

And not just vehicle makers. Suppliers developing everything from electric fast-charge systems to roads that communicate with vehicles have also been drawn by southeast Michigan’s concentration of engineering talent, research facilities and places to test new technologies.

Karma Automotive, an electric luxury carmaker based in California and owned by Chinese auto supplier Wanxiang Group, realized it needed a Detroit engineering center to work with suppliers. It has about 50 engineers work at in Troy.

“We have so many suppliers and key partners in southeast Michigan that it’s critical to have an office there,” Karma spokesman Dave Barthmuss said. “We’re a California company, through and through, but you can’t ignore the expertise available in Detroit.”

At the same time, GM and Ford are ramping up EV development with the aim of launching high-profile new vehicles in the next two to three years. Fiat Chrysler recently joined the party, announcing its $4.5 billion investment in new local assembly plants and vehicles includes its first major move into EVs. At least 18 automakers have engineering center in the Detroit area. All of them are believed to be doing EV work, as are the many supplier tech centers around town.

“The Detroit area has become a center of expertise for companies developing electric vehicles and infrastructure, said Jim Saber, president and CEO of NextEenrgy, a Detroit-based tech incubator. “Start-ups and many established companies from outside the region are drawn to the area to and access the talent and partnerships to develop produce the vehicles and systems at scale.”

Want a factory? It’ll cost you.

Most tech centers employ dozens to hundreds of people. Detroit’s deep talent pool has proven irresistible for many companies looking for talent. Luring new manufacturing is different.

Vince Carioti, director of German supplier Phoenix Contact E-mobility North American operations was originally told to locate in Silicon Valley when the company needed a tech center to support its move into developing EV charging systems.

“I felt that with our ties to the U.S.-based automotive in Detroit and all the focus on electrification and autonomy, we should be located here” Carioti said.

“This was a challenge. There is so much press and media promoting the Valley and the companies located there.”

He persuaded Phoenix’s CEO to come and see Detroit. “In the end I was successful in convincing him to locate in Ann Arbor.  We have one facility (there) and a presence at the Landing zone in downtown Detroit.

“My goal is to eventually have some type of assembly of inlets and charging cables here in the U.S. maybe even Michigan.”

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, government subsidies play a big role in where companies build vehicle assembly sites, which can employ thousands.

Celebrated auto designer Henrik Fisker’s eponymous company recently hired veteran politician Richard Gephardt to select a site for a proposed plant to build around 100,000 electric SUVs a year. Fisker is open about the fact that incentives play a large role in the process. He’s narrowed choices to four states. Michigan isn’t one of them.

View the original article here

Brinks attorney to speak on open source patents in electric and hybrid vehicles at The Battery Show 2015

DETROIT– Aug. 11, 2015 -Kelly Burris, managing partner of the Detroit office of Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., will serve as a conference speaker at The Battery Show 2015, to be held Sept. 15 -17 at the Novi Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Mich. The Battery Show is widely acknowledged as the meeting place for the North American energy storage industry. Co-located with the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Conference and Expo, the event attracts thought leaders and professionals from across the battery supply chain, as well as key verticals including automotive, grid power and consumer electronics, the conference provides a holistic view of what’s driving the demand for energy storage and discusses how the industry can align its R&D efforts, strategy and investment decisions to meet future requirements.

Burris will present “The Growth of Open-Source Patents in Electric and Hybrid Vehicles” on September 17 at 11:a.m in the Open Tech Forum section of the exhibit hall. Following Tesla’s dramatic announcement in 2014 that it was opening its patent portfolio to anyone who wanted to use its technology for the advancement of electric vehicles, several OEMs, including Toyota, Hyundai and Kia have followed suit.

“I look forward to discussing the legal framework of patent pools and the specific patents being offered by electric and hybrid vehicle manufacturers during my presentation at the Battery Show,” Burris said.

At Brinks, Burris is chair of the firm’s Green Technology Practice Group. She focuses her practice on the preparation and prosecution of U.S. and foreign patent applications in the mechanical, materials science, and electrical arts. She is also active with appeal proceedings in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Burris also prepares clearance/freedom-to-practice opinions, drafts and negotiates licensing agreements and joint development agreements. In addition, she is involved in due diligence with mergers and acquisitions, transactional matters, management and administration of corporate intellectual property portfolios and policies, and strategic competitive intelligence.
A link to The Battery Show conference program and registration information can be found here..

Brinks Gilson & Lione
The attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents at Brinks Gilson & Lione focus their practice in the field of intellectual property, making Brinks one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world rely on Brinks to help them protect and enforce their intellectual property rights. Brinks attorneys provide counseling in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. More information is available at www.brinksgilson.com.

Auburn Hills receives the 2013 Planning Excellence Best Practices award from the Michigan Association of Planning

Auburn Hills, Mich.— Sept. 18, 2013— The city of Auburn Hills is the recipient of the 2013 Planning Excellence Best Practices award from the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP/APA Michigan) for the Auburn Hills EV Ready Project. The award will be formally presented at the annual MAP/APA Michigan conference, Planning Michigan, on Oct. 2 in Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Planning Excellence Best Practices award is presented to a specific planning tool, practice, program, project or process that emphasizes results and demonstrates how innovative and forward thinking planning methods and practices help to create communities of lasting value. In particular, MAP recognized Auburn Hills for its comprehensiveness, leadership and innovation in preparing communities for alternative fuel vehicle technology.

Inception of the Auburn Hills EV Ready Project began in April 2011 when the city made a decision to prepare for the fueling needs of plug-in electric vehicle drivers and make Auburn Hills an EV friendly city. The effort was led by the Auburn Hills Planning Commission, Steve Cohen, Auburn Hills’ director of community development, and Ron Melchert, Auburn Hills’ director of the department of public works.

Auburn Hills took a broad view in considering the changes that would accompany a shift to an increased presence of electric vehicles. The result was Auburn Hills’ introduction of a comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure ordinance that facilitates the installation of a city-wide network of public and private EV charging stations, a first of its kind in Michigan.

“On behalf of the city, we are pleased to be the recipient of the Best Practices award,” said Cohen. “The Auburn Hills EV Ready Project has been a true public-private partnership that can be replicated in communities throughout Michigan and the nation. Being selected by our peers to receive this award is an honor.”

According to Cohen, the ordinance encourages, but does not require, property owners to plan for and/or install EV charging stations to support future market demand.

“Because one of the greatest barriers to market adoption of EVs is the unique infrastructure needed to refuel the vehicles, the city established the ordinance in part to raise awareness about the issue and to help property owners proactively plan for EV infrastructure to avoid costly or cost prohibitive retrofits in the future,” said Cohen.

The introduction of EV charging stations represents a significant change in community and economic development, with strategically placed charging stations at homes, workplaces and retail stores, rather than the traditional, quick ‘in and out’ gas station fueling systems.

“Like the emergence of cell phones and their associated network of towers, EV charging stations will change the municipal infrastructure landscape, bringing a cultural shift that will shape how communities function in the future,” said Cohen. “As an employment hub for tens of thousands of workers who live in or commute to Auburn Hills, the city is planning for future transportation habits by establishing an EV-friendly environment now.”

Since the adoption of the city’s ordinance, Auburn Hills has installed 10 public EV charging stations to date and 23 development projects have committed to either prep their developments for, or add charging stations. In addition, the city collaborated with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to develop the Michigan sign standard for reserving parking spaces for electric vehicle charging stations. In May of 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other EV leaders from across the nation met regarding plug-in electric vehicle readiness plans for 24 states and highlighted the Auburn Hills EV charging station sign; the DOE suggested it may become the national standard. Further, the city was named in June 2013 as a partner in the DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge, a collaboration between the DOE and American innovators to accelerate the development and commercialization of the next generation of plug-in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure with the goal of increasing the number of American employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years.

The Michigan Association of Planning, the state chapter of the American Planning Association, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sound community land use planning that benefits the residents of Michigan. Learn more at www.planningmi.org.

About Auburn Hills
Celebrating 30 years as a city in 2013, Auburn Hills is home to 21,000 residents and also serves as Michigan’s global business address, with 40 international corporations from 32 countries housed here, including Chrysler Group LLC and Borg Warner headquarters. Auburn Hills’ residents enjoy the amenities of city and suburban living with parks, a revitalized downtown district and a welcoming city complex with a library and community center. Additionally, the city has five colleges and universities, the award winning Palace of Auburn Hills entertainment complex and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, one of the state’s largest destination shopping centers, providing a variety of cultural, social and educational opportunities to residents, workers and visitors. Learn more at www.auburnhills.org.