Michigan Government Vehicle Fleet Going All-Electric by 2040

2033 Target for Light-Duty Transition, 2040 for Medium- and Heavy-Duty, Says Gov. Whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer takes a ride on a hydrogen fuel cell bus at a Mass Transit Authority facility in Grand Blanc Township, Mich. (Brice Tucker/btucker/TNS)

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Every vehicle in Michigan state government’s fleet must be zero-emissions by 2040 after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order establishing the goal.

The order defines zero-emissions as “any vehicles that use a propulsion technology that does not produce greenhouse-gas emissions,” which leaves the door open to options beyond electric vehicles.

Whitmer has previously touted the siting of a “gigafactory” for a hydrogen fuel company in Michigan, and the state recently won federal funding for hydrogen-related development.

Light-duty vehicles will have a target date of 2033 for the transition and 2040 for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

Whitmer’s office said the state has roughly 8,750 vehicles in its fleets, but only a few light-duty vehicles are currently zero-emissions. The order also calls for building out charging infrastructure at state government facilities.

In a statement, Whitmer said the state is “leading by example” with the order.

“Getting this done will help drive demand of Michigan-made electric vehicles, lower gas and maintenance costs for the state since (zero-emission vehicles) cost far less to fuel and maintain and reduce air and noise pollution in our communities,” Whitmer said.

The order offers an off-ramp for state agencies to request exemptions to the requirements, while prioritizing alternate carbon-reduction strategies like plug-in hybrids and biodiesel.

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The state’s largest automotive union, the United Auto Workers, praised the decision.

“We encourage the state to purchase union-made EVs for all state vehicles, giving America’s autoworkers their fair share of this historic moment for the American auto industry,” UAW president Shawn Fain said in a statement. “On behalf of our 400,000 active members and 600,000 retirees, I want to thank and commend Gov. Whitmer on notching another win for the working class.”

Whitmer’s office cast the move as another measure in a suite of policy changes to confront climate change, including recently passed legislation that requires Michigan utilities to generate all electricity from carbon-free or low-carbon energy sources by 2040.

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