Floor-walking in “Dog Years”

By: Ryan Burklow

With more than 30 manufacturer galleries, even the most rookie car lover could likely spend an entire week exploring everything at the North American International Auto Show. Gov. Rick Snyder is used to working in dog years, which might explain how he was able to walk the entire floor in just one day. Joined by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, the governor had a chance to see everything NAIAS has to offer.

FORD

Bill Ford Jr. met Gov. Snyder at his first stop of the day, and led the governor on a tour through the Ford exhibit.

The first car Gov. Snyder had a chance to see was Mr. Ford’s own, personal GT. The car was left untouched on the trip from Mr. Ford’s garage to Cobo Center, even the dirt was left alone.

After seeing the one-of-a-kind sports car, Gov. Snyder was given a first-hand look at the new 2017 F-150.

The governor ended his tour of the Ford exhibit after getting a look at the fully autonomous Ford Fusion. While this particular model isn't for sale just yet, it does paint a picture of what consumers can expect for the future of the automotive industry.

Ford acknowledged the work that Gov. Snyder has done to make Michigan the world leader in mobility.

“The Governor started talking about technology and the need to make Michigan the hub of technology many years ago, long before we were crystallizing our thoughts around this,” Ford said. “Everything the governor has done to enable that to happen in Michigan has been absolutely huge. It’s the kind of leadership that we need in Michigan to remain the motor capitol of the world.”

GENERAL MOTORS

The second half of the governor’s day began at the Chevrolet booth, where Gov. Snyder and Lt. Gov. Calley were able to sit inside the 2017 MotorTrend Car of the Year, Chevy Bolt.

After exploring all the features the Chevy Bolt has to offer, Gov. Snyder and Lt. Gov. Calley were able to take a look at a Lansing product — the newly redesigned 2018 Chevy Traverse.

FIAT-CHRYSLER

Once Gov. Snyder was able to make his way over to Fiat-Chrysler’s exhibit, he and Lt. Gov. Calley had a chance to check out the 2017 MotorTrend Utility of the Year winning Chrysler Pacifica. While touring the new Pacifica, the governor and lieutenant governor met some of Chrysler’s brand ambassadors — the Pacifikids. After handing out some of the pens that he signs bills into law with, Gov. Snyder was on his way to see the rest of what FCA had to offer.

The governor’s final stop at the FCA booth gave him a chance to see the all-electric, self-driving 2018 concept car Chrysler Portal.

MOBILITY

The fully autonomous Ford Fusion and Chrysler Portal weren’t the only attractions showing off the promising future of the mobility industry.

Volkswagen debuted their fully-electric, self-driving bus — the VW I.D. Buzz.

Hosted in Planet M Hall, NAIAS’s newest addition AutoMobili-D is a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art exhibit. AutoMobili-D is open during preview week to show off some of the latest innovations in terms of intelligent, connected and autonomous vehicle technology.

Gov. Snyder was able to test out a virtual-reality tour of the American Center for Mobility. While the ACM is far from being complete — having just celebrated their groundbreaking in November — by using VR technology, users can be transported to a fully transformed Willow Run facility.

Once his virtual tour of the ACM was finished, Gov. Snyder was treated to a very unique demonstration of connected vehicle technology developed by Michigan students in conjunction with the Square One Education Network.

Disguised as normal looking toy cars, Square One’s modern marvels gave the governor a chance to witness some of the safety features that connected vehicle technology has to offer. Two cars were placed on the ground, with one behind the other. An operator could control the lead car, but the second car was left to rely solely on connected vehicle technology. By connecting with the lead car, the second vehicle was able to know when to accelerate and stop, it was even able to avoid an accident when the lead car came to an abrupt stop.

At first glance these cars might not look like it, but this technology will one day make roads all over the world a safer place.

Gov. Snyder finished his visit to Planet M Hall with an up-close look at some of the great strides that are being made in regard to fuel cell technology. In collaboration with the U.S. Army, General Motors has developed the Chevy Colorado ZH2. Right from the get go it is easy to tell that this Colorado is no ordinary Truck.

The camouflaged, reinforced body of the truck might be cool looking, but the truly extraordinary part of this vehicle is what’s on the inside. On top of having a hydrogen-fuel cell that produces two gallons of water every hour, this specialized vehicle also has a removable battery that can be used to power anything — a feature that could prove useful during military procedures.

While Planet M Hall won’t be open during public viewing days, with the positive feedback and success of this exhibit, AutoMobili-D is likely to become a staple for NAIAS in years to come.