2023 Detroit Auto Show is now open to the public with lots of free test rides in EVs and more

California-based Alef Aeronautics introduced their Model A flying car at the 2023 Detroit Auto Show. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Detroit — The 2023 North American International Auto Show, also known as the Detroit Auto Show, is now open to the public. There are hundreds of new vehicles in display including concept cars and 2025 production models. In addition, there are lots of free test rides in electric vehicles and gas-powered vehicles too.

Chevrolet showed off its first-ever hybrid Corvette sports car called the E-ray. It comes equipped with a 6.2-liter small block engine producing 495 horsepower and an electric drive unit producing 160 horsepower. It will be the quickest corvette ever going from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds. Pricing starts at $102,900.

The 2024 Jeep Gladiator made its premiere at the auto show. It will be available in four models — Sport, Willys, Mojave and Rubicon. The refreshed truck comes with a new seven-slot grille, a new 12.3-inch touchscreen, and updated wheel options. Other new features on the 2024 Jeep Gladiator include new 12-way power front seats and new side curtain airbags. 

“We’re adding more capability, more refinement, more technology and more safety including standard side curtain airbags and adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning on Sport S models and above,“ said Brandon Grimes, senior brand manager for the Jeep Gladiator. “There’s some visual exterior differences as well. We’ve added more refinement to the exterior by moving the antenna to the windshield and creating our trail-ready antenna that’s not going to get snagged by tree branches when you’re out on the trail in a wooded area.“ 

Ford Motor Co. took the wraps off the 2025 Mustang GTD supercar on the evening of media day. It is equipped with a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 producing more than 800 horsepower. But it’s going to be pricey at around $300,000.

Ford also unveiled its all new 2024 F-150 hybrid pickup truck at Hart Plaza on Tuesday. It is now on display at the Detroit Auto Show. The hybrid pickup comes with a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine with more horsepower and torque on its base model. Other engine choices include a 3.5-liter EcoBoost, a 3.5-liter high output and a 5.0-liter V8 and a 5.2-liter supercharged V8.

One of the cool features on the new F-150 hybrid is the new pro access tailgate that opens like a door. In addition, Power Boost models can offer up to 7.2kWh of power for tools and other accessories from an outlet in the truck bed. 

California-based Alef Aeronautics introduced their Model A flying car at the auto show. It can drive on the street, take off vertically and fly above traffic. Public demonstrations are expected to begin in 2024 the company said. 

Cadillac showed off its refreshed 2025 CT5 luxury sedan. It comes with a brand new 33-inch diagonal LED color touchscreen display. The updates include a lower and wider front grille with redesigned Cadillac signature vertical lighting and stacked LED headlamps.

The all-new 2024 GMC Acadia SUV is longer, wider and taller than the previous model. It features a new 15-inch-diagonal infotainment screen, available Super Cruise hands-free driver assistance feature and compatible Google built-in technology.

Attendees can enjoy free test rides in electric vehicles at the auto show. EVs by BMW, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Ford, Hummer, Tesla and Volkswagen are available for free test rides in the back of Huntington Place. 

Tier one supplier AISIN told me more about their eAxles which optimize energy efficiency and maneuverability, contributing to reduced energy consumption. AISIN also displayed their wireframe Demo Car i-Mobility vehicle which displays all of the suppliers automotive components in one place. 

“The efficiency within the system is driven towards the range and then complimentary systems within the vehicle are driven for the aerodynamics,“ said Edward Perosky, senior vice president of powertrain at AISIN. “Our focus within the electrification is on the efficiency within the system—getting the power, extending the range within the components. The sizing of the unit and the packaging is very important.“ 

Startup company Joule Labs told me more about their robotic-arm enabled charging station system for autonomous vehicles. Their solution is perfect for rental cars and fleets such as delivery vehicles. 

“These fast DC charging cables are extremely hard and they are very heavy,“ said Nino Vidovic, CEO of Joule Labs. “This is the ideal situation for ADA charging. But this solution is designed for automated charging for autonomous vehicles like autonomous ridesharing services like Waymo or Cruise. It’s ideal for optimizing charging for car rental companies electrifying their fleet. If you have to move a couple hundred vehicles per day, you have to charge them.” 

Another company called NiFT showed off their QB self-driving shuttle. It features an electric range of 30 miles with a top speed of 11 mph. The QB shuttle can hold 4-6 adults and fit one wheelchair inside of it.

“We started it as a challenge—me and my kids to build a driverless shuttle in 100 days,“ said Shane Elwart, founder of NiFT. “We designed, built and demonstrated a driverless shuttle. This is built from a golf cart chassis. We restructured the chassis to fit this. We outfitted it with sensors and actuators to be able to drive it autonomously. You can actually find this on YouTube under NiFT Go. You can watch the full series of us building it in our garage. Since then, we moved out of our garage and we moved into a space in Canton, Mich. where we’re doing electric vehicle development.“ 

The Ram 1500 Revolution won the EyesOn Design award for best concept vehicle. Meanwhile, the 2024 Ferrari Purosangue won the EyesOn Design award for best production vehicle.

Other cool vehicles we spotted include the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz electric three-row microbus, Lucid Air electric vehicle and Rivian R1T and R1S. 

The 2023 Detroit Auto Show opened to the public on Sept. 16 and runs through Sept. 24. Huntington Place (formerly Cobo Center) is located at One Washington Blvd. Detroit, MI 48226. For tickets and more info, go to www.naias.com.

video by Jason Rzucidlo / AmericaJR

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