Innovation! Acceleration! Exhilaration!

For more than twenty years now, the guys of our family have had a tradition of attending the Saint Louis Auto Show. Grandsons have been added as they have come along and on occasion, we have even had a couple of granddaughters join us. Until our favorite near city eatery closed, the day used to begin with a delicious Cajun meal of gumbo, jambalaya, and stuffed crabmeat at the Gumbo Shop (Rock Hill). These days, we have opted for a great sandwich, chips and an Excel bottled beverage (Breese, IL - I have to get my Red Cream soda fix!) at Snarf’s Downtown MX just across from the America’s Center. The Dome plays host to the Show around mid to late January each year. It’s the Keppler way of welcoming in the New Year!

Hey! It charges on this side! 
The rave of this year’s show was all about the EV – electric vehicle! It was a bit “other worldly” seeing a charging station near each vehicle. And it was great fun looking under the hoods and trunk lids for an actual engine! There were none! Battery-powered vehicles resemble the traditional combustion varieties in every way externally. But noticeable differences include the engine areas and the dashboards! Much of the “powertrain” has been installed underneath the chassis and that leaves an obvious emptiness in the trunk and front of the vehicle. The dash resembles a computer screen with digital controls.

This is a new day for car lovers! Thanks to Ameren, the six of us were treated to a ride in Volkswagen test cars that quietly glided around the Dome on a track made for the event. The acceleration was incredibly fast as our professional drivers zoomed to fifty miles per hour in just 3 to 5 seconds. The vehicle thrust us back into our seats with surprising power as we hugged the corners rounding the course. Two trips around and we were back on terra firma! What an exhilarating ride! The tech-savvy grandson’s video-taped the event for posterity!

Now, there still exist many questions about this transportation innovation. Will this offer us a positive impact going forward as we deal with our climate issues? Will curbing back our dependence on fossil fuels create an economic crisis for producer states? Will battery technology and the infrastructure advance to the place that we can use EV’s to take long distance drives for business or pleasure? I’m sure there are many more questions that come to your mind! Every shift in innovation during my generation (remember the Information Age?!) has generated similar concerns! I suspect that we will have to wait and see as time goes on!

Change is still hard for me. This subject is personal in that my 93-year-old Dad and my brother run an auto repair business that has only serviced combustible engines since its inception in December of 1961. The world of cars back then was primitive by comparison to EV technology. Dad has already navigated many changes including electronic ignition, emission controlled and fuel injection systems along with multiple computer chips running seats, mirrors, and technology running random and miscellany data to power this generation of vehicles. It’s all a bit much to take in! I still long for the good old days when I could work on my 1973 Dodge Charger SE with that beautiful 318 v8 under the hood!

The Bible speaks about change in these brief lines from an engaging poem, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven… A time to embrace and a time to turn away… A time to keep and a time to throw away.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,5,6). Moses counseled Joshua at a time of transition with these words of comfort, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8, NLT).

I am comforted by the sovereignty of our God who is always with us and way out in front of us regarding change. Whatever the next iteration of change looks like, let’s trust God to work out His plan!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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