Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, on July 6, 2020 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the formal launch of the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME), seeking to secure Michigan’s place as a leader in mobile connectivity. Trevor Pawl will lead the office as chief mobility officer.
The OFME will focus on six objectives:
- Enticing new investment and job creation from tech companies focused on the future of the automotive industry—autonomous and electric vehicles;
- Expanding Michigan’s smart infrastructure to continue building upon systems designed to facilitate autonomous and shared transportation;
- Establishing Michigan as a destination for young companies to start and grow technologies enabling more efficient transportation of people and goods;
- Attracting a talented workforce to meet the demands of the mobility sector;
- Facilitating the transition from traditional combustion vehicles to electric vehicles while expanding access to charging infrastructure; and
- Ensuring the state is competitive in electric and autonomous vehicle manufacturing.
The establishment of the OFME recognizes the need for a comprehensive approach to improving the mobility sector—engaging government, education and the private sector to position Michigan as a destination for the future of transportation. The OFME will establish a strategic policy team to recommend public policy surrounding autonomous and connected vehicle technology, electric vehicles, charging infrastructure and shared transportation.
The OFME will also focus on relationships between Michigan-based auto suppliers, Silicon Valley and other high-tech markets. These relationships are necessary to increase software development opportunities in the state, balancing the manufacturing fabric that is traditionally strong in Michigan.
The establishment of the OFME positions Michigan as a leader in mobility. It also has the potential to play a crucial role in Michigan’s economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic by attracting talent, creating jobs and stimulating the state’s economy.