For the first time in my life I can actually say these words, “I regret not growing a handlebar mustache.”
Well, I only found out about the race last Sunday with a guest on WCPTs Mike Nowak show, Dave Funcheon, the CEO of 101 Celsius. Monday I was asked to drive one of the electric vehicles in the race. No chance to grow that mustache, but I will be in full period costume, as we recreate the very first automobile race in the United States, the great Times-Herald Race of 1895, this time with all Electric vehicles!
Should it have taken 118 years to get to this point? That’s arguable. What isn’t arguable, unless you’re an oil company CEO, is that this is terribly long overdue. It was the oil companies decades ago that killed the first electric vehicles. It is their surrogates on talk radio that belittle any effort towards renewable and sustainable technologies.
It won’t be exactly like the 1895 race, but just as historic. Unlike the first race, in which the Chicago Police banned motor vehicles, mandating that they be drawn through the city properly by horses, there will be no directive to have gas-guzzling SUVs tug the EV cars into place. The roads are paved now between Chicago’s south shore and Evanston(though on some streets it is a little hard to tell in places), and the previous race was held on Thanksgiving Day. Gone will be the choking chortle of gasoline exhaust, which helped to bring us a century of pollution and helped spur a precipitous rise in Greenhouse gases. That will be replaced by the hum of a clean and quiet electric motor.
But this race comes at a price, and we have to be aware of those dangers. The technology is great, and the race is a milestone, so what could be wrong with all of that? A clue to that danger comes in the photograph above, and the oddest looks and most chagrined chuckles a man ever got from a wife.
“Seriously, you’re wearing that?” she commented with a mea sure of good-hearted disdain. “You are crazy.”
She’ll be at work tomorrow during the rally and won’t have to see me in public looking this way. Happy Valentines Day, sweetheart. Happy Valentines Day.
8-8:30 a.m. Electric vehicles staged at Gate 41, McCormick Place
8:30-10 a.m. Media opportunities
9-10:30 a.m. Driver familiarity and driver’s briefing
10 a.m. Rally begins, drivers depart
11 a.m. Rally stops at Dawes Park, Evanston
11:30 a.m. Rally leaves Dawes Park en-route to Chicago’s Center for Green Technology
12:30 p.m. Rally stops at Chicago’s Center for Green Technology; tour and lunch provided
1:25 p.m. Rally leaves CCGT, en-route for southern leg
2:15 p.m. Rally returns to McCormick Place
• Chevrolet Volt
• Fisker Karma
• Ford C-max Energi
• Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
• Nissan Leaf
• Tesla Model F
• Tesla Roadster
• Toyota Prius
• Toyota Prius C
• Toyota Prius PHEV
• Volkswagen Passat TDI
• VIA Motors EREV Silverado
• Smith Electric Delivery Vehicle
Contact: Mark Bilek
Director of Communications and Technology
Chicago Automobile Trade Association
Office: (630) 424-6082
Cell: (847) 652-0632
Contact: Jennifer Morand
Senior Public Relations and Social Media Manager
Chicago Automobile Trade Association
Office: (630) 424-6084
Cell: (630) 391-1986
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