Electric cars to be auto show stars
Robert Snell / The Detroit News
Electric cars dominated this year's North American International Auto show, prompting planners to devote an entire display and test track to the breakthrough technology at next year's event.
Electric Avenue will fill a 37,000-square-foot space on the main floor during the auto show, scheduled for Jan. 11-24 at Cobo Center.
The display, sponsored by Dow Chemical Co., will feature about 20 electric vehicles and technology from traditional automakers and entrepreneurs. There also will be symposiums and special events at a nearby stage.
Visitors also will be able to drive electric vehicles on an expanded 1/4-mile track in the Cobo Center basement.
"Electric Avenue is going to be a unique feature of the 2010 NAIAS that will enable us to educate a diverse audience about the long-term viability of the auto industry using a subject that is top of mind globally these days," show Chairman Doug Fox said. "Each year our show strives to provide an innovative approach to providing excitement. As one of the primary stops on the global show circuit, we are able to draw key media and help exhibitors tell the short- and long-term strategies to a passionate audience of consumers and industry leaders."
Several electric vehicles are expected to arrive in showrooms in coming years.
The Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car is scheduled to go on sale late next year, followed a few years later by the Cadillac Converj, which was recently approved for production by General Motors Co.'s board of directors. And Chrysler Group LLC this week said it is restructuring its electric program as it works to develop hybrids and electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles, which are mostly nonexistent today, could grow to 5 percent to 10 percent of the market by 2012.
To draw more people to the events, organizers also have slashed tickets for the black-tie Charity Preview, held before the show's public opening, from $400 to $250 a person -- a nod to the recession and a bid to boost attendance, which fell by about 50 percent this year.
Visitors to the show will see a revamped Cobo, which will undergo $3 million in repairs.
Long-term, Cobo will undergo a $288 million expansion that will add 166,000 square feet to better accommodate an event that pumps about $500 million into the local economy annually.
Electric cars to be auto show stars | detnews.com | The Detroit News