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What will it take to get you to drive electric? Fans and CEOs step in

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William Shatner loves fast cars, fast motorcycles and fast horses. And being the first is another hallmark of the iconic “Star Trek” actor, as he proved again when he shot in space a few weeks ago at the age of 90 – this which makes him the oldest person to do so – compliments of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Rocket.

A motorcycle enthusiast who owned two Harleys, “one for the east coast and one for the west coast,” Shatner told me during a conversation for “Our Electric Future,” a CBS 62 special that aired at 6:30 p.m. on November 7. that he traded them in not long ago to get a new Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle.

He thought it would do 200 miles or more without needing to be recharged and ultimately better for the environment. But after he traded in his Harleys and wrote a check for the difference, and before the bike was delivered, he learned that the range was, in fact, much less.

“I wanted my money back,” he told me, and he finally got it.

Like many consumers who decide to go gasoline or all-electric because GM, Ford, Stellantis, Rivian, VW and others offer a greater choice of electric vehicles, Shatner has experienced range anxiety and was cold in the eyes. For now, he’s sticking to gasoline cars and trucks and waits for “electrics to have more mileage.”

While Shatner doesn’t have any motorcycles in his garage anymore, he has Pedego electric bikes – a lot of them. He bought his first in 2011 (to follow his grandchildren on family walks) and has become such a fan that he is now a spokesperson for the California company.

Shatner is one of many people from business, politics and academia that I have spoken to. on the electric revolution unfolding before our eyes. Although centered on electric vehicles, as more and more are introduced seemingly every two days, it is a conversation that takes on greater significance with greater electrification of our homes, businesses and communities expected in the years to come. .

Jerry Norcia, President and CEO of DTE Energy, is another motorcycle enthusiast who also comes from Canada (like Shatner) and enjoys riding his Harley on weekends. We spoke about autonomy anxiety and other challenges facing the nation’s power grid as we sat in the company’s new power systems operations center in Detroit.

With a growing need in Michigan and elsewhere for electric charging stations, DTE is teaming up to help find solutions.

“We are working closely with industry associations and automotive partners to develop growth estimates that will be incorporated into our strategic distribution network plans for the next 15 years,” said Norcia.

The Midwest Charging Network was created and includes DTE, Consumers Energy, Alliant Energy, Ameren Illinois, Duke Energy and others. Partner companies have launched programs to incent the installation of chargers in key areas to build confidence and make long-distance interstate travel a viable option.

Following: Whitmer wants electric vehicle charging circuit around Lake Michigan

John Smith, a former auto marketing executive, embraced the electric future after vacationing in northern Michigan with his wife while they rented Segways. He left that job to start Seg Adventures LLC in Plymouth, a travel agency, in 2010. He became the owner of Segway and in 2017 was renamed Great Lakes Segway. He opened the Walled Lake locations – Segway dealer and service center – in 2018. Then he opened Pedego Walled Lake in April of that year and acquired Segway of Central Florida and opened Pedego Mount Dora in Mount Dora, in Florida.

Bob Lutz, known as the quintessential car guy who served as GM’s vice president and held senior positions at Ford and Chrysler (aka Stellantis), has been a fan of electric vehicles for years.

The 89-year-old executive said the industry was destined to go electric. Of the many vehicles that came to life under his leadership, he told me, the Chevy Volt – a 2008 plug-in hybrid – topped his list as having the most impact. This helped kick off the electric revolution underway at GM.

The Volt was made at GM’s Zero Plant (as the plant is now called) near the Detroit-Hamtramck border. The facility is set to be renamed next week when it reopens to assemble the GMC Hummer electric SUV.

Following: GM Could Double Revenues By Shifting To Increased Electric Vehicle Assembly Capacity In Factories

Ray Scott, President and CEO of Lear Corp., also spoke to me for the Sunday Night Show about the changes, opportunities and challenges suppliers face as they adjust to keep up with builders. automobiles in this fast-growing and kinetic electrical environment.

A few weeks ago, the Southfield-based company inaugurated a new facility in Detroit that will provide seats for electric vehicles at Factory Zero once it is completed.

Steve Nalu, owner of the Towns Mart Marathon Center in Washington Township, is rushing into the future as he has installed electric charging stations at his gas station with the intention of adding more.

He was joined by Mark Hackel, general manager of Macomb County and Justin Spence, general manager of Oscar W. Larson Co., who installed the chargers there and elsewhere in the state, as we spoke of more of electric vehicles obviously on the roads as you see them connected. in chargers that appear in grocery stores, libraries, colleges like Oakland University, and public places like Beacon Park in Detroit.

Former Governor Jennifer Granholm was at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant and drove the line’s first Chevrolet Volt at the time. As the Secretary of Energy of the United States, she and I chatted several weeks ago when she traveled to Detroit and got a glimpse of the birth of GM’s Factory Zero. She spoke about Detroit and Michigan and the shift to powering electric vehicles, which the nation is suddenly doing on a larger scale.

Yes, make no mistake, the future is electric and it is getting brighter day by day.

“Our Electric Future” will air at 6:30 pm Nov. 7 on CBS 62. Those in attendance: President Joe Biden, Mary Barra, Bill Ford, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Director from Oakland County Dave Coulter, Oakland University Professor Ka C Cheok, US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Joe Grace, Gerard White, Michelle L. Reaves and Bia Hamad.

Contact Carol Cain: 313-222-6732 or [email protected] She is the lead producer and host of “Michigan Matters,” which airs Sundays at 8 am on CBS 62. See William Shatner, Bob Lutz, Mujeeb Ijaz and Natalie King on this Sunday’s show.


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