Technology companies pitch on Day 1 of auto summit – Greenville News
Most of the technology companies that made presentations during the opening day of the fifth-annual South Carolina Automotive Summit talked about their technology.
Steve Goyet of EFI Lighting turned off the lights and showed his.
His company weaves light-transmitting fibers into a fabric that shines in the dark and is used for styling in car interiors.
The product, called LIGHTEX, puts a glowing trim on door panels, dashboards, even steering wheels.
It can also make a car’s ceiling resemble the nighttime sky with 190 points of light embedded in the headliner fabric.
Goyet, a French engineer, spoke in a heavy accent while touting LIGHTEX to about 25 people packed into a conference room at Michelin’s U.S. 1 complex in southern Greenville County.
He is from Lyon, France, but is currently based in Elkmont, Alabama, near Huntsville as he helps EFI Lighting, a joint venture of EFI Automotive and Brochier Technologies, penetrate the U.S. market.
In other activity on opening day of the annual summit, a special room was set aside for suppliers to meet representatives of some of the major automotive companies with operations in South Carolina, including JTEKT Corp., Daimler Vans Manufacturing, Honda of South Carolina Manufacturing, Robert Bosch, Continental Tire, Komatsu and BMW Manufacturing.
Among those attending was Adam Schabel, a purchasing executive for Tower International, a Michigan-based auto supplier that’s building a new plant in Fountain Inn.
Schabel, who worked for a BMW supplier in Greenville in the 1990s, said he came to the summit to meet vendors as part of his job lining up service suppliers for the factory, which is under construction in the Southchase Industrial Park along Interstate 385.
“I’m impressed,” Schabel said about the summit. “In Michigan, I haven’t been to any coordinated events like this,” that include representatives from industry, academia and state government.
Also on opening day, attendees rode buses to the nearby South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center, where they jumped into high-performance sports cars for high-speed trips along a test track operated by the International Transportation Innovation Center.
Among the car brands driving on the test track were Tesla, Maserati, Ferrari, Lotus, Porsche and BMW.
The summit, hosted annually in Greenville by the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, continues Thursday and Friday at the downtown Hyatt.
The speakers lineup Thursday includes Gov. Nikki Haley and Jay Rogers, chief executive of Local Motors, a Phoenix-based venture that uses 3D printing technology to make cars.
Also set to speak Thursday are executives with Volvo, KPMG, IHS,Robert Bosch, BMW Manufacturing and Michelin North America.
On Friday, summit speakers include Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive, and South Carolina Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt.