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DTE Energy MPSC PHEV Pilot Project


By providing a cost-effective, practical solution that substantially improves automotive fuel economy and emissions without the limited range of a pure electric vehicle, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) have the potential to simultaneously redefine the vehicle and transform our use of the electric utility system. Unlike other alternative vehicle technologies, PHEVs do not require massive upfront investments because the existing electric infrastructure can likely be made to support relatively quick, widespread adoption. As a new source of electric demand with the ability to store electrical energy, PHEVs create a number of opportunities and potential impacts for the electric utility system.

DTE Energy, in collaboration with its partners, General Motors (GM) and the University of Michigan, has prepared a proposal in response to the PHEV Pilot portion of the Michigan Public Service Commission's Michigan Energy Efficiency Grants Request for Proposal. As one of the leaders in PHEV-related thought and innovation in the electric utility industry, DTE Energy has assembled a Team that is uniquely positioned to utilize the PHEV Pilot Grant to advance the goal of making Michigan the center of PHEV-related business and innovation. General Motors and the University of Michigan are world-class partners for this project. GM is poised to be the first automotive manufacturer to commercially produce a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with its 2010 production target for the innovative Chevrolet Volt. The University of Michigan has the knowledge base to support this project through entities such as the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute (MMPEI), the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), the School of Natural Resources and Environment, and the College of Engineering. In addition, the Ross School of Business and the Center for Entrepreneurship within the College of Engineering provide a mechanism for leveraging PHEV research into Michigan-based commercial ventures.

DTE Energy has already established a significant presence and broad industry relationships in the PHEV space. As a member of the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), DTE Energy is engaged with the preeminent EV industry association. DTE Energy, through Detroit Edison, is a partner of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Electric Transportation Program, the leading utility research effort committed to the electrification of the transportation sector. Through various forums, such as the 23rd Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS-23) and multi-industry workshops organized by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), DTE has maintained regular dialogue with companies involved in every aspect of the PHEV value chain -- from major automotive manufacturers and their suppliers to leading electric utilities to startup companies and investors. Furthermore, DTE Energy Ventures, a DTE company that invests in emerging energy technology companies, is actively looking to seed startup companies focused on enabling mass PHEV implementation. These opportunities include lithium-ion battery manufacturers, system integrators, and SmartGrid solutions providers.

The main goals of the project are to bolster economic development in Michigan via local PHEV industry development, assess the environmental impacts of PHEVs, and understand how the widespread adoption of PHEV impacts both Detroit Edison and the broader Michigan/MISO electric system. The Team's approach on this project would be to leverage other PHEV-related work and experience across the partnership and focus on near-term technologies and applications that will serve to"bridge the gap" between first-generation PHEVs and the electric utility system. A focus on commercialization opportunities that create a seamless customer experience from day one has the dual benefit of accelerating adoption of PHEVs while positioning Michigan businesses to be successful in an emerging PHEV market.

The Team's strong presence in PHEV research allows us to effectively leverage a broad base of past work and future opportunities. We plan to build on (but not replicate) existing and future U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grants for PHEV pilot activities and SmartGrid-vehicle integration research. Additionally, DTE plans to draw on the expertise of the EPRI and DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for environmental and electric utility system impact work. EPRI and PNNL studies that focused on other regions of the United States will be leveraged in this project. This project will be comprised of four workstreams:

(1) PHEV as a Michigan economic development catalyst
(2) Near-term vehicle-utility interface
(3) Mid/long-term vehicle utility interface
(4) Environmental and electric utility system impacts of PHEVs in Michigan

Based the project goals and the Team's approach, we propose that a major part of this effort focus on research and development surrounding near-term vehicle-utility interface issues and utilizing PHEV as a Michigan economic development catalyst.

General Motors Corporation
DTE Energy
Research Areas
Mobility Systems