Some 50-plus persons, including Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, turned out at midday Friday at Dawes Park to welcome a cavalcade of electric vehicles recreating the first car race in the nation, which roared through Evanston in 1895.

The Electrified Vehicle Rally started out from the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place, with all but one of the vehicles making it to Evanston, powered solely by electricity.

Not all the electrics were cars. This Testa Produce truck was among the vehicles in the rally.

They were greeted by the mayor, who welcomed them to one of the greenest communities in the nation, on a frigid, yet sunny, February day.

Mayor Tisdahl chats with 101 Celsius CEO Funcheon while the news cameras rolled.

Accepting the welcome on behalf of 101 Celsius, LLC, whose idea it was to bring the cars to Evanston, was CEO David Funcheon, who noted that the 1895 Chicago Times-Herald motor race celebrated the superiority of the car over the horse, while today’s rally celebrated the electric car’s superiority over its gasoline-powered predecessors.

David Funcheon talks about the race. (Video by Steve Lemieux-Jordan.)

Even before the rally arrived in Evanston, a local auto dealer, Nissan Evanston, had set up a 2013 Nissan Leaf for display that sported a price tag of $34,000, but the new-car sticker noted that in five years a typical owner would save some $9,100 in fuel costs with the vehicle.

Here’s where you plug in the Nissan Leaf.

After a brief stop in Evanston, the electrics continued their journey back to McCormick Place. The original race in 1895 covered about 52 miles and took more than 10 hours to complete, and that was without today’s rush-hour traffic.

Top: Mayor Tisdahl, wearing red coat in the center, hovers around one of the vehicles in the rally.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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