Road to AAPEX Ep. 5: At the crossroad of automotive's past and future - Transmission Digest

Road to AAPEX Ep. 5: At the crossroad of automotive’s past and future

To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. For Babcox Media’s Joe Keene, an ASE-certified technician charged with fixing up a rare Lincoln Blackwood, it means heading back to Transtar Autobody Technologies in Detroit to put the finishing touches on the Blackwood. Then, he’ll put Babcox Media HQ in the rearview mirror as he heads out on the Lincoln Highway on his way to AAPEX. One of his first stops is the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Ind., where he hopes to bridge the connection between the automotive industry’s past and its future.

“What most people don’t know about Packard is that between 1902 and 1912, they produced 1,841 electric Packard cars,” Keene explained as he observed the classic cars. “From 1900 to 1912, a third of all U.S. cars were electric. So, seeing this resurgence of electric cars today is pretty interesting.”

In 1919, Henry Ford introduced an electric starter, generator and lighting to the Model T. This made the vehicle much easier to start compared to hand cranking, and it was more affordable than the electric car. The rest is history.

Fast forward to today. While Keene continues down the historic highway in the refurbished Lincoln, Babcox Media Editor David Sickels sets off to visit Proterra, a company leading the charge in today’s battery-driven EVs.

“I think we are at the tip of the iceberg in terms of EV adoption,” said Chris Bailey, chief business officer at Proterra. “I believe the single greatest force we’ll encounter over the next five to 10 years is the rate at which we expect the market to adopt this technology. Along the way, we’ll undoubtedly see several new innovations and technologies emerging to address the varied commercial market segments.”

Watch the video above to see how Keene prepares the Lincoln Blackwood for the road (with assistance from Transtar), and get a glimpse into the automotive future as Sickels explores Proterra.

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