Volt 2016, Apple Car rumors and Drive Electric Week photos

Dear Reader,

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Ride and Drive car show we put on with the Michigan Electric Auto Association for National Drive Electric Week. Ours was one of almost 200 events across the country, from LA to Minnesota. We had over two dozen vehicles filling a field by the Whole Foods Market in Ann Arbor-- including Volts, LEAFs, Teslas, BMW i3s, and others. Local drivers took the time to answer questions from prospective EV owners and some even gave test drives. Ann Arbor Mayor Chris Taylor and State Rep. Jeff Irwin also stopped by our event, reminding us that EVs are an important issue for residents across Michigan. Check out the photos on Facebook.

Our Drive Electric event wasn’t the only EV happening in Michigan during September-- Novi played host to the The Electrical Vehicle and Hybrid Technology Expo. Industry insiders talked tech innovation, as well as policy innovation, in a number of workshops held during the event. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation also funded a “Pure Michigan” space in the expo, where local companies were given a free booth to show off their research and projects.

Some EV highlights coming out of our state included InventEV, a company working to develop plug-in hybrid work trucks. The idea is that the cars won’t have to stand idling while operating attached machinery like bucket lifts, and can also double as generators on worksites. Other “Pure Michigan” exhibitors included Global Battery Solutions and Energy Safety Products International, companies working to develop more efficient reuse, repair and recycle mechanisms for spent EV batteries. Digital Inspection LLC is researching the use of X-ray technology to diagnose what caused an EV battery to fail.

Our friends at NextEnergy also hosted the V2B Mashup, exploring the intersection between electric vehicles and buildings. Turns out that as our vehicles and buildings become linked through the electrical grid, the possibilities for saving or integrating alternative energy systems, and providing other consumer conveniences become exponentially greater. We’ll keep an eye out for further developments on this front.

And of course, we can’t forget that the 2016 Volt launched this month. For more on the car that’s almost entirely Built in Michigan, see our story below.

September has been an exciting time for those of us watching the EV industry here in Michigan. Let’s hope the enthusiasm continues!

Charles Griffith
Climate & Energy Program Director
The Ecology Center