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2023 Detroit Auto Show focusing 'heavy' on EVs, test drive opportunities

Posted at 6:51 PM, Jun 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-07 18:51:34-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The 2023 North American International Detroit Auto Show is just over three months away. The event returns to Huntington Place in downtown Detroit Sept. 13 through Sept. 24.

As crews continue to break down fencing from the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Hart Plaza, in a matter of months that outdoor space will once again be transformed with attractions to draw crowds to the auto show.

It's the second time the show will be in September and have an outdoor component.

“I would probably go to the outdoor one. That sounds a lot more fun than the indoor one to me," Kevin Ernst said.

Sabrina Quince said, "I really enjoyed (last year)... It was nice to have it downtown, have the environment and outside view of it all."

Rod Alberts, the executive director of the North American International Detroit Auto Show said, “The whole idea is to have family fun, people come down, look for their next car and really enjoy downtown Detroit at it’s finest.”

He said there will be double the number of brands participating including the Big Three. Alberts said many are bouncing back from a semiconductor chip shortage and other economic obstacles post-pandemic.

This year, he said show-goers can expect a heavy focus on electric vehicles and EV education.

“When you talk to the manufacturers and even from the government support side, everybody’s pushing EV, electric cars. So, we have to make sure that we’re educating the public on what it’s like to ride in a car," Alberts explained.

"So, the broader scope of that is really the infrastructure, how far you can drive them and learn more about the vehicle because that comfort level has to come with time," he continued.

Thad Szott, the show's chairman for 2023, said the focus on EV this year is a "large percentage" compared to traditional combustible engine vehicles.

"I will tell you from a board, we focus really hard on that technology and making sure we showcase that because that’s where all the investment of the future is going with these OEMs," Szott explained.

Organizers said part of the hands-on experience at this year’s show is a 300-foot indoor track where people can test drive an EV alongside a professional driver.

“Because it’s a lot more fun to actually get in and experience the car," Alberts said.

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