July 14 – Southern Michigan Tour – EV Station Nirvana

Here’s a story that Ford’s media team put together on our visit to the Michigan Assembly Plant.  A nice picture of Roy Chapin in the car he drove to New York is included.  His trip inspired many others to go even further, with trips spanning North America shortly following his example.

We left the Dearborn Inn first thing in the morning on July 14, and headed to the nearby Meijer grocery store where an EV charger was located.  We were meeting our daughter, Dana, in Ann Arbor for dinner, and as her birthday was rapidly approaching, we did some gift shopping while charging.  As we left the Dearborn Inn, we passed by a historic marker that brought my Ford Tri-motor airplane ride full circle (see an earlier blog post of my flight on a 1929 Tri-motor).  You’re probably unable to read the sign due to my poor photographic skills.  Basically, it tells the story of William Stout who was behind the development of this fantastic plane built nearby.We drove along Michigan Avenue west out of Dearborn.  People lined the streets for several miles in what we thought was an additional celebration for our travel feat, however it turned out that a large automobile parade was scheduled to pass through later in the morning.  Lots of hot rods, classic autos, and antique cars were driving along Michigan Ave as well as parked along the street.  One of the cars driving ahead of us was this Pinto.  EVs have been described as dangerous because of the electrical energy, however, there are very few things scarier than driving behind a Pinto.  The actual energy content of an EV’s battery pack is much less than the energy in a tank of gas.Ypsilanti, which sounds like it’s spelled, is adjacent to Ann Arbor.  We went to the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, which was originally a Hudson dealership.  Jack Miller is the museum curator and former Hudson dealer. Bill Chapin had recommended that I speak with Jack about any questions regarding my family’s Hudson history.  Jack is a real pleasure to meet, and he dug out some old brochures for the Hudson “Twenty” club, made up of employees with more than 20 years service.  My grandfather’s name was listed until his death in 1945.  Here’s a picture of Jack and me.Some really nice cars are in the museum.  A really cool feature is that the dealership office, parts counter, and repair shop are exactly as they were when the dealership closed.  I think they simply dropped what they were doing, and Jack hasn’t touched the items since.

Ann Arbor is just a few miles down the road.  The University of Michigan is my alma mater (I can already hear the booing from many of you!).  Regardless of our various sports rivalries, our universities are the best in the world, and they are essential for creating a sustainable future.  A stable future for our children, grandchildren and beyond rely on the continuing development of new technologies that utilize our resources more efficiently.  A sustainable future also depends on an education system that transmits knowledge to future generations.  And, while we’re accomplishing these things, yelling at each others’ schools in a maniacal manner during some sporting contest is a lot of fun.

We charged up at DTE’s free ChargePoint station, and for the first time, we had some company with a Chevy Volt parked in the other charge spot.We celebrated Dana’s birthday and gave her a birthday gift consisting of fishing gear she had requested, proving that she is indeed related to my side of the family.We had a full charge from the DTE station, and headed to a Super 8 motel Jackson Michigan, a quick 50 miles drive interstate 94.  For those of you contemplating EVing in the Michigan region, do it!  Southern Michigan from Detroit to Benton Harbor and beyond is EV charge station Nirvana.  St Clair, Detroit (and suburbs), Ann Arbor, Saline, Jackson, Marshall, Coldwater, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Michigan City, Benton Harbor and many more locations within comfortable EV driving ranges have charge stations.  It will be great when the stations allow one to circumnavigate the Great Lakes magnificent coastlines!