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US utility Consumers Energy announced plans to provide more electric vehicles (EV) for its employees, a major step toward a clean energy future for Michigan.

Patti Poppe, CEO of Consumers Energy, said the utility is now buying or leasing EVs instead of purchasing new sedans that rely on gasoline.

The energy provider to 6.7 million consumers launched a pilot with General Motors to test smart charging for EV owners.

Under the pilot, Consumers Energy will:

  • Replace over 100 sedans with EVs
  • Test new smart charging technology to allow EV owners to plug in at home and delay charging to start until overnight hours. Consumers Energy will offer rates to encourage charging in off-peak hours, when there's less demand for electricity from the grid.
  • Direct $7.5 million towards the development of EV charging stations across Michigan in people's homes, at their workplaces and along major thoroughfares.

"Electric vehicles are ready for the fast lane and Consumers Energy wants to support this technology for the good of Michigan and our planet," Poppe said. "Electric vehicles will reduce our carbon footprint, supporting our company's Clean Energy Plan to already cut carbon emissions from our power plants in the next two decades."

"GM's vision is for an all-electric future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion," said Dane Parker, vice president, sustainable workplaces for General Motors.

The news follows a prediction by the Edison Electric Institute and Institute for Electric Innovation that up to 7 million EVs will be traveling on US roads by the end of 2025.