No Risk, No Reward

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

What a difference a year makes.

Tomorrow, I leave for Los Angeles – again – for another exciting adventure.

The City of Auburn Hills has been asked by our partner, Ann Arbor-based Clean Energy Coalition, to participate in meetings and networking opportunities with the U.S. Department of Energy, along with other select municipalities and the major automakers.  The purpose of the conference is to brainstorm on how to best prepare America for the emergence of plug-in electric vehicles into the marketplace.  I will do my best to represent our team’s efforts and recommendations.

It has been a wild ride!

It is hard to believe that just one year ago, the City hosted a meeting with a group of industry experts which included representatives from Chrysler Group LLC, Magna E-Car, DTE Energy, ALTe, Pike Research, and the Clean Energy Coalition.

We stood before them and proposed that Auburn Hills should lead and become a “Champion” in promoting electric vehicle acceptance in the market.  Looking back at things, we were a tad bold and ambitious.

At the end of the meeting, we asked the group for their help.  They unanimously said … “Yes”.   We are very grateful to all of them.  Simply put, we would not have accomplished anything without their support.

To be clear, there is no doubt that plug-in electric vehicles are not yet ready for prime time.  Advancements in battery technology are needed.  However, we feel it is important to “think ahead” and prepare for 10-20 years from now.  There will be huge economic development implications for the regions that are able to support these vehicles, as they advance in range and lower in cost.

The City of Auburn Hills wishes to position itself for the needs of the next generation when a sizable segment of motorists will demand convenient charging locations.  Billions of dollars have already been invested in electric vehicle technology.  These vehicles are part of a comprehensive fuel diversification plan that has been in the works since the Nixon Administration.   It is not going away.

So, Auburn Hills has taken a calculated risk and decided to lead the way.   There is no doubt that we are “building the airplane while we’re flying it.”   Although it has not been easy, the experience has been very rewarding for us.  It has definitely been a wild ride!