Suddenly Empty Detroit Auto Show Basement Turned Into Electric Test Track

With every Michigan Hall automaker now sitting pretty on the top floor at Cobo, there's all sorts of room in the convention center's basement. How will the Detroit Auto Show use the space? Test track!

With all of the available space left by Nissan, Mitsubishi, Ferrari and gang after they pulled out of the show and the Chinese moving up to the main floor for the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, there was an unusual amount of left over floor space. An unusual 70,000 square feet to be exact. Conveniently, this is just enough space to build a wooded driving course.

The 1/8th mile course was sponsored and built by the Michigan Economic Development Corp and is being named the EcoXperience Test Track. It will allow show-goers to test drive the latest “green” vehicles from manufacturers like Ford and GM along a winding road through a fake forest-like setting. Drivers will be accompanied by a professional driver or a product specialist as they navigate their way to grandmother’s house at a paltry 10 mph.

According to Joe Serra, the Detroit Auto Show’s senior co-chairman,

"This will blow your mind. It literally looks like you're in a beautiful forest. It's huge. Trees, waterfalls, brick pavers. This course winds its way through it. It's a way to showcase of what (automakers) currently have to offer and what the future holds."

While surely not as entertaining as our ride through the Cobo Arena basement last year with the Chinese Jake and Elwood, it’s the Detroit Auto Show Committee’s legal way of allowing manufacturers to show off vehicles such as the hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicle.

The track will be open during the show’s public days, which run from January 17-25. We plan on taking it up to 11 (MPH) and will let you read about it.

[via Detroit News]