Michigan’s leadership role in the future of the auto industry will be on full display during the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week. For the second year in a row, the MEDC will host the EcoXperience – a quarter-mile indoor ride-and-drive test track surrounded by landscaped and forested terrain with a variety of electric vehicles.
In addition to the EcoXperience, we are excited to introduce a new exhibit this year: The MEDC Alternative Energy Showcase. This showcase will feature ten of the most innovative alternative energy component suppliers displaying the latest battery and related technologies.
Adding to the Auto Show excitement is the announcement that the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize will be coming to Michigan this year for the intensive, multi-stage testing process of its 50-plus super fuel-efficient vehicles, thanks to a unique new partnership with the MEDC. The performance and testing events will be spread over five months, kicking off in April, and concluding in August. The X Prize team will conduct several closed-door competition events aimed at testing the safety, efficiency and performance of each competition vehicle. Public events will also be held, showcasing the X Prize vehicles and their technologies.
Michigan has led the way for years in sustainable manufacturing and advanced battery innovation. In 2006, we identified the advanced battery market as a key emerging sector that our state was positioned to lead, and created the economic development tools and passed legislation to build the industry right here. We were the first in the nation to unite private companies, research universities and state resources to commercialize energy technologies at our Centers for Energy Excellence. We were also the first to create incentives for advanced battery research and development, pack engineering and assembly – along with advanced battery credits – that convinced battery manufacturers to locate in Michigan.
We are seeing the future of the automobile and the American auto industry. Electric vehicles powered by advanced batteries – and made right here in Michigan. Electric vehicles will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help us address the problem of climate change. And the advanced batteries that power electric vehicles will produce thousands of badly needed jobs here in Michigan – 20,000 jobs by the year 2020, according to some estimates.
There is no better place in the world better suited to display these green-powered vehicles. We are home to more collective automotive manufacturing and R&D talent in North America than the other 49 states and Canada and Mexico combined. Michigan has the knowledge base, the talent and the facilities to support the development of the new technologies central to achieving both the goals of the competition and the future of the automotive industry.
The MEDC is a proud to once again be a part of the 2010 North American International Auto Show, and invite all of you to stop by to see the EcoXperience and the Alternative Energy Showcase in the Michigan Hall. The show opens to the public on Saturday January 16, 2010, and runs through January 23, 2010.
Check out some of the pictures we took during our visit this week, and be sure to visit Pure Michigan Connect to see what a good time our Travel Michigan team had, and learn about all the other things to do while you are in Detroit.