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Whitmer announces $444,000 in grants to five Michigan mobility companies

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 12:05 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Five companies are receiving a share of $444,000 worth of grants to encourage development of electric vehicles and alleviate mobility barriers.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer traveled to Flint on Wednesday to announce the first round of grants from the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform at Kettering University’s GM Mobility Research Center.

“These grants are securing a foundation for mobility companies across the state that builds on our reputation as a global leader in testing and deployment of future mobility solutions, but also create a runway to future growth and jobs right here in Michigan,” Whitmer said. 

The projects to receive funding include $89,000 for KUHMUTE to install vehicle charging hubs in Flint, along with encouraging the use of electric bikes and scooters to augment the city’s existing public transportation system.

Kettering alumni Peter Deppe co-founded KUHMUTE and works as the company’s CEO. The company focuses on developing sustainable options for the first and last mile of people’s commutes without using cars.

“A charging network that is agnostic to electric scooters, electric bikes, wheelchairs, delivery robots and more enables communities to choose the mode of transportation that is most convenient for their trip and abilities,” Deppe said. “Providing choices is a powerful way to increase the adoption of the most sustainable forms of mobility, and our team is excited to play a role in this.”

Kettering plans to augment its next generation vehicle programs with the Bright Future initiative, which includes course work and hands-on experiences for students in development of mobility solutions. The university is offering a new master of science in engineering focusing on mobility systems.

“For more than a century, Kettering University has exemplified innovation and education within the automotive and engineering industry here in Michigan and around the world,” said Kettering President Robert McMahan. “As an institution, we are committed to embracing every facet of mobility to prepare the most highly qualified, forward-thinking leaders in this vital industry.”

Other projects to receive Michigan Mobility Funding grants on Wednesday include:

  • $125,000 for MUVE to partner with Washtenaw County organizations in bringing more accessibility options for riders, dispatchers and drivers. They plan to work on technology allowing for transit and on-demand ride hailing for people of all abilities.
  • $125,000 for Airspace Link to develop an unmanned aircraft delivery network in the Detroit area, including for urgent medical items that would improve patient care.
  • $65,000 for Michigan Flyer and its parent company, Indian Trails, to develop a single ticket system for passengers to travel between East Lansing, Brighton, Ann Arbor and Detroit Metropolitan Airport using multiple services.
  • $40,000 for GreenRoute to work with DTE Energy’s EV Connections Community to customize travel routes that optimize electric vehicle battery range and alleviate range anxiety. The company has a mobile app for customers to plan travel.

Whitmer created a new Office of Future Mobility and Electrification in state government as a partnership between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Department of Transportation.

“Michigan entrepreneurs and innovators are leading the way in mobility and electrification transportation solutions that will have an impact around the globe, while creating economic opportunity here in the state,” said Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification.

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