Michigan Gov Whitmer orders state government fleet to be 100% electric

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive Tuesday forcing the state government’s entire fleet of vehicles, both light-duty and heavy-duty, to transition to zero-emission.

Under Whitmer’s actions, Michigan’s state agencies must convert all state-owned light-duty vehicles to zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) by 2033 and all medium and heavy-duty vehicles by 2040. The governor said the move — which earned endorsements from clean energy groups, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and Detroit Regional Chamber — would reduce pollution and lead to lower costs in the state.

“Michigan automakers are on the cutting-edge of the world’s switch to zero emission vehicles, and with today’s executive directive to transition our state-owned fleet by 2040, the State of Michigan is leading by example,” she said in a statement. 

“With today’s executive directive, I am directing state agencies to begin the process of converting vehicles owned and operated by the state to ZEVs by 2033 for light-duty vehicles and 2040 for medium and heavy-duty vehicles,” Whitmer added. “Getting this done will help drive demand of Michigan-made electric vehicles, lower gas and maintenance costs for the state since ZEVs cost far less to fuel and maintain and reduce air and noise pollution in our communities.”  

The executive directive instructs Michigan state departments and agencies to prioritize purchasing ZEVs in their fleets, prioritize transitioning vehicles that travel the most miles first, and prioritize transitioning vehicles located in communities “historically impacted by higher pollution.” It also requires the installation of EV charging infrastructure in high-density areas.

Whitmer’s actions come one week after she signed a landmark legislative package that requires state power providers to meet some of the most aggressive green energy goals in the country. And it comes amid her push for an increase in EV manufacturing in her state and greater EV ownership.

“The UAW applauds the State of Michigan for showing that the electric vehicle transition doesn’t have to be a race to the bottom,” UAW President Shawn Fain said Tuesday. “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.”

“Moving our state vehicles to clean energy propulsion systems is a significant step towards Michigan’s leadership as a clean energy economy,” added Glenn Stevens Jr., the vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives at the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Our state fleet will be a leading example of zero-emission vehicles on our roads and will help set a precedent for all public and personal transportation to move in this direction.” 

With the directive, Michigan joins other states like New Mexico in requiring the complete electrification of public vehicle fleets.

In addition, in 2021, President Biden issued an executive order calling for federal vehicle acquisitions to be exclusively ZEVs by 2035, a plan expected to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years. Every light-duty vehicle acquisition must be electric by 2027 under the order.