Michigan to build ‘Truck Stop of the Future’

Published: Monday, September 18, 2023

In partnership with Daimler Truck North America and DTE Energy, the state of Michigan in the USA is building a Mobility Charging Hub to help companies transition their fleets to electric commercial vehicles. The hub’s location sees more than 10,000 medium and heavy-duty commercial trucks travel daily across the state, or through its borders into Canada.

The State of Michigan announced a new, real-world prototype program known as the Mobility Charging Hub, which will help enable companies to transition their fleets to electric commercial vehicles (EVs) and future-proof their businesses by testing new technologies, digital services, and business models designed to accelerate deployment of commercial EVs at scale and modernize the truck stop experience.
The program will also serve the dual purpose of supporting passenger vehicle charging. Charging infrastructure remains a challenge for the broad deployment of EVs, but projects like this show that progress can be made toward a zero-emission future.
“Freight trucks drive commerce, deliver goods, and connect businesses throughout the nation, which is why it is critical to prepare this industry for the future,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “Our Mobility Charging Hub will help more companies electrify their fleets, cement Michigan’s leadership in the future of freight, and rebuild our transportation infrastructure to support the economy of tomorrow.
“Over the past five years, our administration has made progress investing in infrastructure and positioning Michigan as the best place to innovate the future. We are taking that one step further with this ‘truck stop of the future.’ We will work with anyone to ensure more innovators and companies can make it in Michigan,” he added.

Access to federal funds
Michigan will have access to $13 million in funding to support the Mobility Charging Hub development and secure partnerships with companies aiming to test and implement solutions related to EV innovation, fleet management, and overall ease of travel.
Initial project partners are industry leaders Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) and DTE Energy, who are fundamental in making this project become a reality.
With $8.5 million in federal funding support from a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant award to Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Michigan’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) will also establish a grant program through the Mobility Charging Hub that will help fund future activations onsite.
As EVs become more commonplace across passenger and commercial transit alike, truck stops face a fundamental point of evolution to their existing service models. However, this challenge represents an opportunity to unlock new revenue in the trucking space, create new jobs, as well as redesign urban, suburban, and rural spaces into more sustainable community assets.
Through this new Mobility Charging Hub, Michigan seeks to develop the partnerships, integrations, and business models necessary for accelerating the transition to EVs at scale, while informing a playbook replicable across truck stop locations nationwide.
“Michigan’s ability to retain its global position as the automotive capital of the world depends in part on our ability to attract and retain industry, as well as move goods domestically and across our nearby active international borders,” said Kathryn Snorrason, Interim Chief Mobility Officer of the State of Michigan. “This new innovation hub will help preserve Michigan’s position in the automotive sector while allowing us to address emerging fleet management technologies.”

Multi-phased initiatives
The Mobility Charging Hub will tackle solutions development through several multi-phased initiatives. In the first phase, the core infrastructure to support EV charging at the site will be established as a foundation.
DTE will operate the core infrastructure of the Mobility Charging Hub – including EV charging solutions, solar canopies, and battery energy storage systems, and will look to partner with third-party operators for value-added services.
After successfully demonstrating usage and commercial viability in the first phase, OFME and its partners will work to enable the Mobility Charging Hub as a platform for testing innovation, similar to sites like the Detroit Smart Parking Lab, Michigan Central, and the FLITE Program at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
Located at DTNA’s multi-acre Redford facility near I-96, the site is already equipped with the necessary power, making it an ideal location for the Mobility Charging Hub. This location sees more than 10,000 medium and heavy-duty commercial trucks travel daily across the state, or across the state’s borders into Canada.
Furthermore, Michigan accounts for 30% of all truck and rail freight between the United States and Canada, making Redford an ideal first location to concentrate on for this activation. In addition, DTNA’s existing workforce training programs for EVs can be expanded in the future to provide training programs related to agnostic EV charging infrastructure with the establishment of the Mobility Charging Hub.
“At DTNA, we are driven by our vision of leading sustainable transformation at the speed of right,” said Rakesh Aneja, Head of eMobility, DTNA, “After introducing Electric Island, a first-of-its-kind heavy-duty electric truck charging site in Portland, Oregon, and investing in Greenlane this year, a joint venture for public charging infrastructure, we are excited to partner with the State of Michigan and DTE in this innovative Mobility Charging Hub. Our 130-acre Detroit manufacturing plant, home to our diesel and electric Detroit Powertrains and powered by more than 3,000 employees, is the ideal location for this project.”
“We’re excited to partner with the State of Michigan and DTNA to put this site on a key highway corridor for commercial vehicles,” said Tony Tomczak, Vice President of Electric Sales and Marketing at DTE. “As DTE’s first venture into owning and operating EV chargers, we’re a proud leader in building publicly accessible EV charging for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, giving our fleet customers another reason to electrify.”
The announcement supports the state’s broader mobility goals to provide safer, greener and more accessible transportation infrastructure and services established in the MI Future Mobility Plan. Specifically, Michigan aims to accelerate fleet transition to EVs by bolstering available resources and providing incentives to fund the transitions.