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Chicago EV Road Rally Retraces 1895 Event

Technabob blog recounts participation in modern electric-drive vehicle rally as part of the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.

Published: 18-Feb-2013

While you may or may not be a fan of electric vehicles and hybrids, you can be assured that more and more of these high-tech vehicles will start to hit the streets in the coming years. Between the crazy price of gasoline and emissions concerns, electric cars are definitely in our future.

In order to help show how the future is actually now, organizers in Chicago put on a recreation of America’s first motor vehicle race, using today’s high-efficiency electric, hybrid and long-range diesel vehicles. I actually had a chance to participate in the rally, which retraced the route of 1895's Chicago Times-Herald motor race.

The intent of this rally wasn’t to speed through the streets of Chicago and its closest northern suburb, Evanston, but to show that these modern vehicles are actually ready for prime-time. The 1895 race was orchestrated to show the viability of self-propelled vehicles over horse-drawn ones, while this event was designed to show that EVs and hybrids are more practical for today’s lifestyles than gas-powered cars. Chicago commuters travel an average of 22 miles a day, so the 50 mile route was designed to prove that these vehicles could handle more than twice the typical usage – and in frigid February temperatures.

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