DETROIT — Regional power company DTE Energy Inc. unveiled a consumer education and incentive program to expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Michigan.
Camilo Serna, vice president of corporate strategy for DTE, said during an event here Tuesday that the Charging Forward program will help raise EV awareness.
The program will teach consumers when to charge EVs during off-peak hours to spread demand, Serna said.
DTE, headquartered in Detroit, will partner with the Detroit Mobility Innovation Initiative to install chargers in public areas of Detroit.
DTE also plans to provide rebates up to $500 for residential charger installations and support business charging infrastructure with incentives of $2,500 per port and $20,000 per charger.
Norman Saari, Michigan public service commissioner, said education would be key to expanding EV charging infrastructure in the state.
"Trying to convince people that EVs were safe to drive through a car wash was somewhat of a formidable challenge," he said. The next step is "trying to get dealers in the industry to understand more about making the public aware of what EVs are capable of doing," he said.
Saari said more EVs on the roads in the state would put significant stress on the electric grid.
"We're going to figure out where these systems are going to go," Saari said. "The infrastructure issue is critically important."
Matthew Stover, director of EV services for Team Edison, Ford Motor Co.'s global EV team, said the automaker will invest $11 billion globally in EV technology between now and 2022.
"We've decided to lean into our strongest brands and electrify them," Stover said.
Ford's relationship with DTE goes to the top: Ford's lead independent board member, Anthony Earley, was CEO of DTE from 1998 to 2010.
Michael Abelson, General Motors' vice president of EV charging and infrastructure, said a zero-emission future depends on automakers and energy suppliers working together.
Abelson said, "Both Ford and GM are working with DTE on a program to explore what it takes to have vehicles charge in such a way that supports and works in conjunction with the grid."