News Story

Big Michigan Utility Expects No ‘Significant Growth’ Of Electric Cars Here

Consumers Energy sees potential but projects no jump in power demand from EVs

Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid. Image via Ford Motor Co.

Consumers Energy is not anticipating any significant growth in the number of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in Michigan, at least in the near future. That’s the conclusion it reached in plans for major changes to its electricity generation and electric distribution through the year 2040.

The regional monopoly provider of electricity and natural gas wrote in its June 15 integrated resource plan that the projected changes to its electricity generation plans do not “account for significant growth of EVs [all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles].”

The report explains further: “With an estimated 8 million total registered vehicles in Michigan, EVs account for a mere 0.2 percent of total registered vehicles in the company’s service territory.” According to the report, 12,500 to 15,000 electric vehicles were registered in the state in 2017.

The company does acknowledge growth potential in the electric vehicle market. It pledged to “continue to monitor developments in this industry, as well as projections by third-party data management companies.”

Consumers Energy is compelled by state law to file an integrated resource plan every five years with the Michigan Public Service Commission, which regulates the state’s electricity and gas utilities. The plan describes how the utility plans to produce and deliver energy in future years.

The commission can approve the plan or require the company to change it.

The commission uses a broad definition for electric vehicles, covering any vehicle that draws electricity from the grid, according to spokesman Nick Assendelft.

"Our interest in terms of [electric vehicles] is not the style of EV. Rather, it’s in the load the expanding number of EVs in Michigan would have on the state’s electrical grid; what that means for reliability; and what the rate structure would look like for utility customers,” Assendelft said in an emailed statement. “Any utility proposals will be evaluated in the context of individual rate cases.”