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Reporter’s Notebook: These Boots Were Made for Walking

Ward’s writers pass along the buzz at this week’s SAE 2009 World Congress in Detroit.

Special Coverage

SAE World Congress

Charged Up

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm wastes no time dispelling the public perception that the Great Lakes State is the corroded buckle in the nation’s rustbelt.

“We are not Luddites!” she declares, noting four battery developers recently confirmed major investments here.

Arnold Who?

Gov. Granholm also flexes some political muscle during her remarks to open SAE 2009 World Congress.

Pausing to wet her whistle, she picks up a bottle of water and, after struggling for a moment, successfully twists off the cap.

“I don’t need Arnold Schwarzenegger,” she says of the California governor and onetime strongman, who follows her on stage.

These Boots Were Made for Walking

Speaking of Schwarzenegger, the Gover-nator, wearing his black snakeskin boots bearing the California state seal, spends about an hour walking the SAE show floor Monday, along with a platoon of security guards and police to keep journalists and autograph seekers at bay.

He visits the Honda booth, this year’s host company, for a briefing about the CZ-1 scooter. He stops by GM’s booth to climb behind the wheel of a V-6-powered all-new Chevrolet Camaro. He visits FEV to learn about a Hummer H3 road-ready prototype equipped as a plug-in hybrid extended-range electric vehicle.

At the Ford booth, Schwarzenegger takes a shine to the all-new Ford Fiesta, which has been on sale in Europe since fall and arrives in the U.S. next year. He grills Ford staffers about the car’s fuel economy and whether it’s available in a hybrid-electric configuration. “It’s beautiful,” he says of the ice-blue B-car.

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