DTE event puts customers behind the wheel of GMC Hummers and other electric vehicles

John Sawula was suitably impressed with his ride in the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup on Saturday.

“Oh, wow, that’s all I can say. It was totally amazing,” said Sawula, 63, from Westland.

He had just taken a ride in the “interstellar white” truck at a special event DTE Energy held outside its Detroit headquarters for customers to try out various electric vehicles.

In addition to the Hummer, a Chevrolet Bolt, a Ford Mustang Mach-E, a Ford F-150 Lightning, a Polestar 2, a Volkswagen ID. 4, Rivian R1T and two Teslas, models Y and S, were available for journeys along a route through Corktown and back to the head office off Bagley.

John Sawula, 63, of Westland looks on and turns right while driving an electric vehicle for the first time, a GMC Hummer EV during the DTE ride and driving various electric cars and pickup trucks on June 25, 2022. The event took held at DTE Headquarters in Detroit.

The “pep and power” of the Hummer was more than Sawula expected. If only the list price was a little lower, General Motors might have a new customer. This particular model with extras like interior ambient floor lighting and mirror spotlights with the Hummer EV logo bumped the standard price of the vehicle from $108,700 to $112,839, which includes destination charges of 1 $595.

Instead, Sawula, a Michigan Department of Corrections maintenance supervisor at the Detroit Detention Center, will likely stick to his 2013 Ram 1500 4×4 and the $125 a week he spends on gas these days. . He bought a travel trailer, but soaring fuel prices made the vacation “out of order for now”.

Still, part of the focus of DTE’s event this weekend was apparently achieved when it came to Sawula, who said the Hummer’s dizziness blew the 5.7-liter Hemi into his own truck.” out of water”. He said he previously thought electric vehicles were underpowered and unable to tow a trailer, but that is no longer his impression. The Free Press previously reported that the Hummer, with a range of 329 miles on one charge, can tow up to 7,500 pounds and has a payload of 1,300 pounds.

DTE notified customers of the event by email, inviting them to register for slots over two days, Saturday and Sunday, but by Saturday afternoon there had been a number of no-shows , so driving was no problem. The company said 320 people signed up.

Amber Seeling of Xperience, left, working for DTE, talks to Cheryl Denman, of Grosse Pointe Park, about the Ford Lightning EV at the DTE ride and drive event held at their headquarters in Detroit June 25, 2022.

However, the initial strong demand for the slots – around 450 people tried to register for this weekend – prompted DTE to plan an additional event for July 23.

Walk-ins are welcome at 8 a.m. at 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, but there is no guarantee that you will be driving a vehicle. Races will only be available if registrants are late or do not show up. And, of course, a valid driver’s license is required.

Milena Marku, head of EV strategy and programs at DTE, said the EV driving and driving program launched in 2019 but had to be put on hold due to COVID-19. This weekend’s Detroit event marks the first rides on the program this year.

Getting behind the wheel of an EV helps familiarize people with what they can do and allay some of the concerns often raised, such as range anxiety (the fear that an EV does not have enough of power to get a driver to their destination), notes Marku.

Two Teslas, left, and a Polestar 2 wait for attendees during the DTE ride and drive through various electric cars and pickup trucks at the DTE headquarters in Detroit on June 25, 2022

“You can take long trips in Michigan” in an electric vehicle, Marku said, pointing to a DTE estimate of 1,000 public charging points in the state, 400 of which are fast chargers.

Most experts also note that many electric vehicles, with ranges of hundreds of miles, have more than enough range to meet everyday driving needs.

And, of course, with gas prices being such a concern these days, the cost of charging versus gas is a big selling point for electric vehicles. The overnight charging estimate on the DTE rate plan for electric vehicle users equates to less than $1 per gallon of gasoline, according to the company. For regular unleaded gasoline, the average price per gallon as of Saturday was $5.07 in Michigan and $4.91 nationwide, according to AAA.

“It’s a pretty big saving,” Marku said.

One of the questions often raised about electric vehicles is how they will affect the power grid. When asked if brownouts were possible due to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, Marku shook his head, “no.”

A Ford Lightning EV driven by a participant returns to DTE headquarters in Detroit on June 25, 2022, after a 2-mile loop while driving and driving various electric cars and pickup trucks.

She said the company’s annual investments in its infrastructure are sufficient to meet this demand.

“We can evolve at the same rate as the need,” she said.

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For Andrew Lipps. 33, from Rochester, the event offered a chance to try out more electric vehicles. In the past, he’s driven Teslas.

He is currently renting a Jeep Grand Cherokee L and would be interested in a vehicle with a third row like his Jeep.

Like everyone else, he suffers the high cost of fuel which “eats everyone alive”.

Lipps believes the future is electric and he’s starting to see more options with choice of vehicles and easier access to charging stations. It’s a key development for him because “one of the biggest difficulties is the load,” he said.

Lipps, who is a software consultant but previously worked in the auto industry, said from what he sees now, “it’s clear that Ford and other automakers are serious” about switching to electric vehicles. .

Contact Eric D. Lawrence: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence. Become a subscriber.

DTE Information on Electric Vehicles

For information from DTE on electric vehicles and charging rate plans, follow this link.