Michigan is betting big on electric vehicles, but so far it’s been a bust.

To date, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration and Democratic allies in the Legislature have dedicated $2 billion from taxpayers for companies to build EV batteries and vehicles. With roughly $1 billion spent so far, state officials claim five companies will bring $16 billion in investments and 12,000 jobs.

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“But all of the projects are behind schedule and two have downsized, reducing best-case job expectations by 13%,” an analysis by Bridge Michigan found.

Only about 200 jobs have materialized to date.

While state officials claim the companies will not receive the tax dollars until they meet hiring goals, records obtained by the news site show otherwise.

So far, the state has spent $70 million to buy land for two gigafactories – for CCP Gotion in Big Rapids and for a joint Ford-CATL plant in Marshall. Another $78.3 million went to Our Next Energy for a factory in Wayne County that promised to create 2,112 jobs but has only created 50.

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The Whitmer administration gave another $51 million in loans, and has spent $600 million on utilities and equipment, Bridge reports.

General Motors has also received at least $468 million of $600 million in promised incentives for a Delta Township batter factory and expanded EV production in north Oakland County. Those projects, slated to open this year, remain under construction with only 120 jobs realized out of 4,000 jobs promised.

Out of five large EV related projects announced since 2022, Bridge reports “only LG Energy Solution Michigan in Holland hasn’t received a large up-front payout, documents show.”

Patrick Anderson, CEO of the Anderson Economic Group, described the situation as a “double risk that taxpayers are taking.”

In addition to “taking big risks on the companies,” the Whitmer administration is also betting on “technology that was nascent and that still hadn’t achieved anything close to widespread adoption.”

Whitmer’s administration pointed Bridge to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for comment, and MEDC spokesperson Otie McKinley defended the state’s EV deals.

“While there has been some re-scoping, we are still talking about billions of dollars being injected into the state and thousands of jobs being created,” McKinley said.

The massive spending, which doesn’t include millions invested in charging infrastructure, comes as “high interest rates, inadequate charging infrastructure and uncertain economic conditions have fueled affordability and rage concerns, resulting in a slowdown in EV sales,” according to analysts at Ernst & Young Global.

“In the first quarter of 2024, Americans bought 268,909 new electric vehicles, according to Kelley Blue Book counts. EV share of total new-vehicle sales in Q1 was 7.3%, a decrease from Q4 2023,” Cox Automotive reports. “While annual EV sales continue to grow in the U.S. market, the growth rate has slowed notably. Sales in Q1 rose 2.6% year over year, but fell 15.2% compared to Q4 2023. The increase last quarter was well below the previous two years.”

In April, Ford announced losses of $1.32 billion on electric vehicles, which equates to a $132,000 loss for each of the 10,000 units sold in the first quarter of 2024, according to Just the News.

In addition to the broader headwinds, locals in Marshall and Big Rapids are pushing back on the planned plants, both through the courts and public campaigns, while others in Congress oppose the deals over ties to slave labor in China.

The situation in Michigan has prompted both public ridicule and plans from EV manufacturers to scale back production.

Ford has cut or delayed about $12 billion in previously announced EV investments, and scaled back plans in Marshall by 43%, reducing expected jobs from 2,500 to 1,700, CNBC reports.

In December, the Center for Economic Accountability named Michigan’s $1.75 billion in taxpayer subsidies for the Ford-CATL plant America’s “Worst Economic Development Deal of the Year” for 2023.

Aside from the “massive wastefulness” including a “$700,000 per-job price tag for below-average jobs” and an uncertain future, the center called out Whitmer’s attempt to manipulate locals opposed to the project when it announced the award.

“In September, the Detroit Free Press broke the story that political groups tied to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spent an estimated $100,000 in ‘dark money’ to run a public relations campaign against local Marshall-area residents who were being inconveniently vocal in their opposition to the deal,” according to the announcement.  “The Free Press made the connection between the governor’s political allies and the PR campaign because it used consultants, lawyers and even phone numbers tied to Gov. Whitmer’s 2022 re-election campaign and the state Democratic Party. Campaign activities included mailing out postcards that used photos of local opponents, as well as robocalls and other professional campaign tactics.”

“At the end of the day, the reported use of political consultants to run a smear campaign against skeptical local residents that really set Michigan’s subsidies for Ford’s Marshall battery plant apart from all the other terrible corporate welfare deals across the country,” said CEA president John C. Mozena.

“It’s one thing for politicians to use fuzzy math to throw massive amounts of public money at a giant corporation so they can take credit with voters for so-called ‘job creation;’ we see that all the time,” he said. “This award was nailed down for Michigan when a governor’s political cronies reportedly pushed out campaign-style mailers and robocalls against average, everyday people who dared to exercise their fundamental right to ask their elected officials for straight answers to questions that mattered to their community.”