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Whitmer signs orders to help automakers in shift to “mobility” business

An electric car charger with a car in the background
K?rlis Dambr?ns
Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is making her mark on efforts to help Michigan’s auto industry make the transition into electric vehicles and new ways of getting from place to place.

Whitmer was in Detroit on Tuesday to sign the orders to create an “Office of Future Mobility and Electrification.”

“This council will be responsible for recommending the changes to state policy to ensure that Michigan remains the world leader in future mobility, including autonomous- and connected-vehicle technology; electric powertrain technology,” she says.

Another order creates the position of “chief mobility officer” in the state Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. Whitmer says that person will advise existing businesses and try to attract new transportation companies to Michigan.

Jeff Donofrio directs the state Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. He will lead the search for a “Chief Mobility Officer.”

“We’re looking for someone who understands the industry very well, someone who understands the ‘north stars’ we’re trying to drive toward, right? Which is making sure we have a strong auto industry that’s able to pivot to the next generation of mobility,” he says. “Also making sure that we gather more of the mobility companies and more of the economic opportunity that’s going to present itself with future mobility.”

Donofrio says that includes all-electric vehicles and internet-connected smart cars.

Whitmer says she also wants Michigan to build new roads that can help develop the next era of mobility.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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