Last week, I got to visit Ford’s HQ in Detroit as part of their Go Further with Ford trend conference. This was my first time visiting the Big D, and my first automotive media trip, so I was doubly excited!
The event started with dinner at the historic Henry Ford Museum, a remarkable museum that houses over 200 acres of invention, inspiration and innovation. 300 years of history. 26 million artifacts in an eye-opening and mind-blowing collection started by Henry Ford himself. I seriously could have spent all night there, there’s just so much to look at. If you’re ever passing through Michigan, make sure to visit The Henry Ford.
The following day, we were shuttled to Ford’s campus for a full day of activities. There were many components to the event. There were trend panel discussions on topics such as technology, design, and sustainability, with a group of amazing speakers flown in from Google, MIT, Stanford, and more. Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) was one of the featured speakers, and that was really neat. I should have asked him to sign my iPad.
We were granted VIP access at Ford and got to see lots of cool things like 3D printing (which lets engineers prototype parts far faster than they normally could) and VIRTTEX (Virtual Test Track Experiment), which as the name suggests, simulates real-world driving scenarios in a safe virtual environment.
What kind of trip would it be without some driving? I got to drive a 2014 Ford Fiesta around an autocross course. I was nervous at first, but I had the instructor ride along with me, and it was actually a lot of fun! The Fiesta is a cute little car with a lot of pep, and it handles quite nicely!
I also participated in an eco-challenge in the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi, which is Ford’s plug-in hybrid model. While the Fusion Hybrid gets an impressive 47MPG city/highway, the Energi gets a staggering 100eMPG! But for me, the biggest surprise was that you’re not forced to make any sacrifices. The Fusion is a full-size vehicle that drives like any other car. The only difference is that you’ve got to plug it in to recharge. And unlike those all-electric cars that have a limited range, the Fusion Energi will continue running on gasoline if/when you run out of power.
I’ve never been much of a green person, but the Fusion really had me looking at things in a different light. While the Energi isn’t a feasible option for me (no garage, no charging stations nearby, etc), the Fusion Hybrid is definitely going to get a second look when it’s time to replace my gas-guzzling Acura. It’s a GREAT looking car, and the technology this car packs is second to none.
All in all, it was a pretty amazing trip. I met some great new friends, drove some very cool cars, and learned a lot about Ford as a company and where they’re headed in the future. And the future’s looking bright!