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Whitmer, Granholm push for EVs and a slimmer auto industry

U.S. energy secretary and former governor Jennifer Granholm supports a ban on the sale of gas vehicles

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm supports California’s ban on the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

Current Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is pushing for Michigan to transition to electric vehicles.

But neither is discussing the job losses that will likely accompany the transition to EVs.

Granholm, currently the U.S. secretary of energy, made her comments in an interview last week with Fox 11 Los Angeles anchorman Elex Michaelson. Ford Motor Co. announced plans in August to lay off 3,000 employees, mostly in Michigan. The announcement came just two months after Michigan lawmakers gave the company $100 million in exchange for a pledge to create 3,030 EV jobs.

Michigan, in effect, traded white-collar jobs for blue-collar jobs. Ford says the job cuts are part of its transition to electric vehicles, which will require more resources. reports other automakers will follow suit, as workers who create electric vehicles will need a different set of skills than those who work on cars with internal combustion engines.

“While retraining assembly workers should be easier, electric powertrains have far, far fewer parts than internal combustion engines, and electric vehicle production can get by with a smaller workforce,” Timothy Johnson, a Duke University professor, told The Street.

Granholm cheered the American Jobs Plan, a federal initiative to increase spending on green technologies, in June 2021. She said, “The American Jobs Plan would put the country on the path to owning the global clean energy market, creating millions of well-paying jobs, lifting families into the middle class, and raising standards of living in the process.”

Granholm tried to do the same in Michigan when she was governor. The state sent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to green energy companies that later went bankrupt or out of business. Most were not required to return the money.

Whitmer has also been an advocate of new electric vehicle technologies. “In Michigan, we’re taking steps to get more electric vehicles on our roads and produce the charging infrastructure needed to support them,” Whitmer tweeted Sept. 22, 2021.

Business Insider projects a potential 40% reduction in jobs in the auto industry due to the shift to producing electric vehicles.

Whether electric vehicles are a green energy technology is up for debate. EVs carry environmental trade-offs, as well as moral ones. They rely on minerals that are often mined in a way that causes environmental damage in developing nations.

Whitmer’s press office did not respond to a request for comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.