- DTE Energy launched its new "Charging Forward" electric vehicle program on Tuesday, rolling out a platform of incentives and customer education efforts aimed at boosting the use of electrified transportation in Michigan.
- The program includes rebates for residential and commercial charging equipment and allows EV drivers to access new rates that encourage off-peak charging.
- Michigan leads the nation in automobile manufacturing, but the state lags in electric vehicle adoption. The utility says "range anxiety" is a stumbling block the new program can help address.
Electric vehicles in Michigan made up just 0.6% of light duty sales last year, but DTE officials say that should change if customers feel confident they can find a place to charge.
"Customer surveys tell us that more people are likely to use EVs if they can easily obtain chargers and feel confident that they will find locations to charge along their routes," Camilo Serna, DTE's vice president of corporate strategy, said in a statement.
The new program aims to make drivers feel more secure "by removing both these obstacles," Serna said, adding that DTE, state regulators and the automotive industry all want to boost EV adoption in Michigan.
Michigan is in the bottom third of states when it comes to emissions-free vehicles on its roads, according to market tracking web site EVAdoption. California leads the nation, with a 7.84% market share for EVs, followed by Washington (4.28%), Oregon (3.41%) and the District of Columbia (3.34%).
Through the Charging Forward program, DTE will provide residential customers a rebate of up to $500 if they: purchase or lease a new or used EV; install a qualified Level 2 charger; and sign up for the utility's EV charging rate. Business customers can also receive incentives of $2,500 per port and $20,000 per charger when they install Level 2 or DC Fast Chargers, the utility said.
DTE said the program will encourage customers to charge their vehicles through reduced rates when system demand is low, to help spread the demand on the electric grid.
"The distributed demand is expected to add efficiencies to DTE's electric distribution and put downward pressure on prices, creating a win-win-win opportunity for DTE customers, local economies, and the environment," the company said in a statement.
DTE is aiming to cut its carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2040, and said EV adoption is part of its plan to reach that goal. The company will also be increasing the number of electric vehicles in its own fleet.