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Updated 6:30 PM June 5, 2007




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'Green' auto forum to probe future of alternative fuel cars

When auto industry experts gather on campus next month for an interactive forum to discuss the plan for alternative fuel cars, audience members will do more than just listen and ask questions. They'll also be able to view the makeup of the new Tesla electric car and have a chance to win a free three-month summer lease on a Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle.

"Alternative Fuel Cars, What's the Plan?" will be held at 4 p.m. June 12 at the Power Center. It is co-hosted by U-M, Ann Arbor IT Zone and Michigan Business Review, and is part of the Ann Arbor TechKnow Forums, which are designed to enhance the technology business climate in Southeastern Michigan.

The forum will feature expert presentations, a roundtable discussion and product demonstrations. Discussions will revolve around the future of alternative fuel vehicles, current alternative fuel research, automotive keys to economic recovery in Michigan and how consumers are shaping a green automotive future.

"Alternative fuel for the automotive industry is an important research area for the University, and the TechKnow Forum provides an important showcase of industry research, as well as university research," says Kenneth Nisbet, executive director of U-M Tech Transfer. "The economic vitality of our region and beyond centers on this important topic."

Participants include: moderator Jean Jennings, president of Automobile Magazine; Larry Burns, vice president of research and development and strategic planning at General Motors Corp.; David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research; Martin Eberhard, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors; Nancy Gioia, director of sustainable mobility technologies and hybrid vehicle programs at Ford Motor Co; Chuck Gulash, vice president of research and materials engineering at the Toyota Technical Center, the North American research and development division of Toyota Motor Corp.; and Scott Lindholm, vice president of systems engineering at Cobasys.

Nisbet says U-M participation in the TechKnow Forum helps the University build important industry relationships.

"The University benefits from broad and productive relationships with industry partners such as these," he says. "They are important for our research and educational goals. And I can guarantee that with Jean Jennings as moderator, this event will be informative, provocative and fun."

For details and to register for the forum, visit Admission is $25 by May 25 and $30 thereafter for the general public. Admission for U-M staff and faculty is $15 by May 25 and $20 after. Student admission is $1. For more information, call 615-9310.

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