than land-line telephones in certain emerging markets. “If we don’t embrace this technology, we could lose it,” he said.
Dr. Good agreed. “That means the issue of government procurement becomes very big.” She asked Gary Krause of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. for his opinion.
Mr. Krause first commented on the presentation by Eric Shreffler of the MEDC, which made it seem that the whole process was “so orderly and methodical.” From the inside, he said, “the exercise was a lot more exciting and a lot more breathtaking at times, with outcomes not necessarily predetermined.”
He said he was pleased to hear there was general agreement that the task of policy is not finished. “The easy part is incentivizing companies to get involved in the industry,” he said. “The more difficult aspect of this is that, now that the dog has chased and nearly caught the car, what do we do next? That is something that we as a state are really very concerned about.” Michigan has “literally bet the farm on this particular aspect of a broader policy for industrial diversification,” Mr. Krause said. There is $6 billion in state, federal, and private investment on the table, Mr. Krause pointed out. “That is a lot. So the issue of completing this task from a policy standpoint really is key.” The MEDC “will be doing everything in our power to protect, enhance, and leverage those considerable investments that have already been made,” he said.
In terms of market drivers, Mr. Krause said he “was a bit disappointed.” The National Academies should address “why it is so difficult for federal agencies, which have their hands on certain levers, to incent this industry,” he said. “Why is it so difficult to get better cooperation in terms of military applications, the postal service, and even general governmental use of vehicles?” He said response has been “tepid, and we really need to concentrate on that a little more.”
Another major issue is acceptability of electric vehicles, Mr. Krause said. “I was encouraged that the discussion got beyond passenger cars,” he said. “The real payoff comes when one gets into those larger trucks, the off-road vehicles, and the construction and agriculture applications.
Mr. Krause said Mr. Sperling’s presentation on the cultural shift in attitudes toward electric vehicles was interesting. “What is needed here is a very educational process,” he said. “This thing is seemingly being pushed from a government and industry standpoint. And all of the discussions seem to go around why we can’t do this rather than why we can do this.” There are “real advantages” to electrifying transportation, he noted. “That excitement just doesn’t seem to be coming through. I would suggest that the educational effort be very different and not have a heavy fingerprint of government on it. It really needs to be about why there is an advantage to electrifying vehicles.” Mr. Krause said if the push is from the federal government perspective, “the very shrillness of the atmosphere those kinds of discussions take place in will discredit the process.”
Dr. Sastry of the University of Michigan said she “couldn’t agree more” with Mr. Krause’s point that “this cannot be a top-down, force-fed kind of