It was a snowy Monday drive up to Detroit with the Cedarville Engineering Supermileage team. But it was a problem-free trip and we arrived safely at the Detroit Cobo Center, where Urbie was moved into the display hall. Yes, his name is a play on Herbie the Love Bug from the old Disney movies.
The team worked on the vehicle at the Shell booth in the lower level of the convention center, while Press Week at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), also known as the Detroit Auto Show, took place on the upper levels.
Later in the afternoon, we all went to the hotel downtown, then went to dinner. We watched the first half of the College Football Playoffs championship game, Ohio State vs Oregon, at the restaurant and then headed back to the hotel. I watched the rest of the game in the hotel room with a Michigan fan. Great game!
In the morning after breakfast, the team and I took the RTA (train) to the Cobo. While the team worked on a few more details to get the vehicle ready, I walked around the NAIAS show to look at new cars. I was amazed at all the media. Since it was press week at the show, many were reporting on specific vehicles while the manufacturers unveiled their 2015 creations. It was quite a spectacle. It was not very crowded and I could walk right up to the vehicles and take all the pictures I wanted.
I returned to the Shell booth and team was instructed how the afternoon would unfold. Not until after the event did I realize how big of a deal this was having the university engineering team at the Shell Eco-marathon booth.
The governor and lieutenant governor of Michigan also came by the booth to talk to the CU team and look at Urbie, as well as Shell-sponsored IndyCar driver Will Power, who is the current IndyCar Race Series champion.
The media frenzy kicked in when the Shell-sponsored NASCAR drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keslowski visited the booth and talked with Cedarville faculty and students. I enjoyed taking pictures of Logano and Keslowski as they took a genuine interest in the vehicle and asked the team details about the car.
As part of the Shell Eco-marathon promotion, Logano & Keslowski “raced” Urbie and Shell’s own Urban Concept car on the track next to the booth. The noise level pumped up quite a bit as the NASCAR drivers took off, even though the vehicles were not going very fast. The Shell rep’s had a press conference with Logano & Keslowski. Logano stayed awhile after the event and took each member of the CU team several laps in the Shell concept car. What a great memory for everyone.
A walk around the Detroit Auto Show …
After a long day, we packed up Urbie and headed back to Cedarville. We arrived on campus super late, or super early, depending on how you look at it (early in the morning that is). We were exhausted but satisfied at how things went and how much positive exposure Cedarville received.