DBusiness Daily Update: EV Maker ELMS in Troy Completes Key Pre-production Test, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
the ELMS Urban Delivery
ELMS in Troy has completed structural confirmation impact testing for its Urban Delivery vehicle paving the way for production to begin. // Courtesy of ELMS

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

ELMS in Troy Completes Key Test Leading to Start of Production

Electric Last Mile Solutions Inc. (ELMS) in Troy today announced it has completed structural confirmation impact testing for its Urban Delivery commercial class 1 vehicle, paving the way for production to begin.

With this testing phase complete, which took place at the NHTSA-validated Calspan facility in Buffalo, N.Y., the vehicle’s body design has been finalized.

“Passing these tests is not only a testament to our ability to design and engineer leading safety systems specific to commercial EVs, but it is also a critical milestone as we move towards full regulatory approvals, production and delivering our first vehicles to customers,” says James Taylor, CEO of ELMS.

Praveen Cherian, ELMS vice president of engineering at ELMS, says, “Incorporating our all new, ELMS-engineered, patented, front bumper energy absorption system along with a series of structural reinforcements allowed the Urban Delivery to meet federal safety testing standards. I am extremely pleased with the results of the confirmation test and proud of our global engineering development team at ELMS for their innovative thinking and methods that helped us deliver robust results in a very compressed timeline.

“This was certainly no ordinary achievement especially being the first commercial Class 1 EV engineered for the U.S. market.”

ELMS plans to launch introduction models of the Urban Delivery electric vehicle in the U.S. market beginning late in the third quarter. Production will occur at the company’s plant in Mishawaka, Ind.

Current Dealers in Detroit Assists with EV Charging Station Installations Nationwide

Current Dealers, a Detroit-based electric vehicle charging solution company, has announced it is assisting Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and other General Motors Co. brands with automotive dealerships across the country that need to comply with new EV readiness requirements.

To prepare for a projected increase in sales nationwide, U.S. auto companies are asking dealers to comply with new EV requirements. Current Dealers partners with auto retailers, cities, and other businesses to supply, install, and update the green power e-mobility infrastructure needed for full adoption of EVs.

To support dealer compliance with corporate requirements, Current Dealers offers a three-part solution to EV charging, including a facility assessment, charger installation, and ongoing service.

The assessment process includes a comprehensive site plan, identification of permits needed, visual mockups of installed chargers, and a total cost breakdown. Installations are completed by licensed electricians who are certified in EV chargers. The company also provides the warranties, maintenance, and upgrades needed for all EV products.

“Companies that install an EV charger can receive up to $30,000 in tax credits, plus increases in revenue,” says William McCoy, founder and CEO of Current Dealers. “We are proud of our work in support of Detroit companies implementing sustainable power solutions since we launched two years ago, and we are excited to expand our services to support auto dealers from coast to coast.”

ChoiceOne Financial Services Completes $32.5M Subordinated Notes Offering

ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. in Sparta (north of Grand Rapids) today announced the completion of a private placement of $32.5 million in aggregate principal amount of 3.25 percent fixed-to-floating rate subordinated notes due 2031.

The company intends to use the net proceeds of the private placement for general corporate purposes, including support for organic growth plans, possible redemption of senior debt, common stock repurchases, and support for bank-level capital ratios.

The notes initially will bear interest at a fixed interest rate of 3.25 percent per annum until Sept. 3, 2026, after which time the interest rate will reset quarterly to a floating rate equal to a benchmark rate, which is expected to be the then current three-month term Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus 255 basis points until the notes’ maturity on Sept. 3, 2031.

The notes are redeemable by the company, in whole or in part, on or after Sept. 3, 2026, and at any time upon the occurrence of certain events. The notes have been structured to qualify as Tier 2 capital for the company for regulatory capital purposes.

“I am very pleased with the favorable terms of our subordinated notes offering,” says Kelly Potes, CEO of ChoiceOne. “This non-dilutive capital strengthens our ability to continue to execute on our strategy to deliver long-term shareholder value while maintaining strong capital levels.”

Oakland University and Faculty Agree on Contract Ending Strike

Oakland University in Rochester Hills and its faculty agreed on a contract over the Labor Day weekend, ending a brief strike that disrupted the start of the 2021-2022 academic year.

“Oakland University and its faculty, through their union, restate their commitment to offering our students a superior educational experience by focusing our collective energies on engaging in what we value most — serving our students and facilitating their success,” said a joint statement from the university and the faculty negotiators.

To make up for the delays experienced during the work stoppage, the faculty, according to the statement, will undertake “all feasible measures to assure that full course content and learning objectives are delivered to their students, and that all requirements for credits and program accreditations are satisfied.”

Restaurant Week in Madison Heights Set for Sept. 19-24

The city of Madison Heights will be presenting its second Restaurant Week, Sept. 19-24, and has announced additional participants in the event.

Among the new restaurants taking part in 2021 are: Not Just Noodle, Meet Fresh, and Mia’s Tasty Grill.

Returning restaurants for 2021 are On the Rocks Bar & Grill, Kabob Royale, 168 Crab, Fuji Japanese Buffet, Woodpile BBQ, Madhouse Bar and Grill, Augie’s, Cadillac Straits, and Irish Tavern.

In all, Madison Heights Restaurant Week will feature more than 20 diverse restaurants — all featuring specials and giving visitors from across metro Detroit the chance to expand their horizons and explore the city’s wide-ranging global cuisines, both for dine-in and carry-out.

Madison Heights offers a diverse restaurant scene, ranging from Vietnamese to Japanese fusion to Lebanese shawarma to gastropub to classic American homestyle cooking.

“Building on the success of 2020, this year’s Madison Heights Restaurant Week will once again shine a spotlight on the wide variety of global dining options in Madison Heights — which we believe is among the best dining towns in Metro Detroit,” says Melissa Marsh, city manager.

“Residents and visitors will have the chance to support local restaurants and enjoy great discounts in the process, and we are confident they will continue to come back after Restaurant Week is done.”

Discounts and specials on lunch and dinner entrees, appetizers, and more will be part of the offerings during Madison Heights Restaurant Week. Participating menu specials will be announced on the city’s official Restaurant Week website.

Visitors also can enter online contests by posting their Madison Heights dining experiences on their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages using the hashtag #MHRW2021contest. A $50 dining gift certificate will be awarded each day during Restaurant Week. Contest entries can be submitted from Sunday, Sept. 19 to Friday, Sept. 24.

Many restaurateurs plan to offer specials as both dine-in and carryout option, to allow guests to choose either a night on the town or a quiet dinner at home. Weather permitting, dining outside may be available at some restaurants. Participating restaurants are taking appropriate safety measures in line with COVID-19 regulations, to ensure a safe dining experience for all who visit the city.

Partnership Provides Resources for Adolescent Suicide Prevention

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, and Michigan Virtual have partnered to address the rate of adolescent suicide by providing guidance, resources, and support that can be quickly deployed to schools and communities.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for youth and young adults in Michigan.

Developed in collaboration with subject matter experts from the Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, the Adolescent Suicide Prevention Series features five asynchronous courses, which provide school administration and staff with the tools to identify the signs of students who are at risk of suicidal ideation, suicidal gestures, and offer action steps to prevent and address these serious concerns.

An additional course supports community members by helping them raise awareness on this emerging issue, reduce the stigma of mental health and counseling, and provide strategies to help others feel an important sense of connection and caring.

Students also will be empowered through this initiative with leadership skills to become student ambassadors within their schools and communities. Student ambassadors can play a critical role in combating this issue by supporting their peers who may be distressed and helping them connect with resources and support when needed.

“Blue Cross is pleased to partner with Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association and Michigan Virtual to bring these resources to schools and communities across Michigan to reduce the risk for adolescent suicide,” says Ken Hayward, vice president and special assistant to the president for community relations at BCBSM.

“This opportunity provides schools and communities with critical information and interactive experiences to help educators review their policies and practices, problem solve, facilitate a peer-to-peer support program and develop a comprehensive suicide prevention plan. Mental health and well-being are an important part of healthier school environments.”

Each online course is provided at no cost. Teachers and administrators can earn State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) hours for professional development credit, a certificate and micro-credential. A School Administrator’s Guide is provided to help administrators facilitate learning and discussion with their school and district staff. School leadership, teaching and support staff, administrative staff, and other members of school communities working with adolescents in Grades 5 and up are encouraged to enroll in one or all five of these courses.

For more information, visit here.

Turning Point Presents the 14th Annual Tara’s Walk

Turning Point in Mt. Clemens invites supporters to participate in the 14th Annual Tara’s Walk on Saturday, Sept. 25 at Freedom Hill Amphitheater (14900 Metro Parkway) in Sterling Heights or participate virtually.

Tara’s Walk is a kickoff event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is recognized in October.

Tara’s Walk participants may join as an individual, connect with an existing team, or start a new team. The registration fee is $25. Funds raised support the Tara Liberation Fund, which helps domestic violence survivors in situations that require immediate assistance. For more information, please visit here.

Turning Point provides comprehensive, free, and confidential services and programs for domestic and sexual violence survivors, their loved ones, and the community. Services include a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, housing, supportive counseling, personal protection order assistance, legal advocacy, forensic nurse exams, and first response advocacy for victims of sexual assault, prevention, and community education.

Second Hand Rose, another Turning Point service, provides survivors with gently used items necessary to start over while providing an opportunity for the community to donate and shop.