By James Lomuscio
Westporter Brian Strong has had a long, thrilling relationship with fossil fuel cars. For one, he’s raced them on the track.
“And my daily driver is a 1961 Corvette,” he notes.
Strong also owns several other classic cars, including a 1921 Brewster.
But today, as he waited for the results of the Second Annual EV Road Rally at the eastbound Saugatuck train station, Strong admitted he has become quite smitten by electric powered vehicles.
The rally was held as part of Westport’s GreenDay celebrated throughout town this weekend.
“Now, mpg (miles per gallon) is the new mph (miles per hour),” Strong said in front of the station house equipped with a vehicle solar charging station. “The thing now is to milk every last foot of mileage.”
As he spoke, little did Strong, who is president of the Westport Y’s Men, realize that in a few minutes he would be announced as the rally’s first place winner.
According to John Shuck, rally coordinator, a total of 38 electric cars had vied for first place, each one having to come the closest to the official mileage set for the rally, 38.6 miles. The electric Smart car driven by Noah Levine with Strong as navigator hit it right on the odometer.
Other electric cars in the rally that toured Westport, Weston, Norwalk and Wilton before heading back to Westport included Teslas, Honda Fits, Chevy Volts and Mitsubishis. Even Beamers were represented with two not-so-sleek, electric cars, the BMW i3.
“These are not hybrids,” said Shuck. “These are all 100 percent electric.
“It’s changing daily,” he added about the electric car industry. “So, if you’re thinking about doing a renovation or building a home, put a charger in your house. All of these cars have an 85- to 200-mile range.”
According to Dennis Levitt, who drove his electric Tesla in from California last week to participate and who came in third place today, electric cars stand out for being quiet.
“It’s as quiet as a golf cart, and I know golf carts,” said Levitt, who toured the town with Westporter George Franciscovich, Jane Gordon and Pete McElroy.
“And it’s a lot faster than a golf cart, and all you hear are the tires and the wind,” he added.
For dyed-in-the-wool, internal combustion engine aficionados who want the satisfaction only the rhythms of revving can provide, such electric vehicle simplicity might seem prosaic.
But not so, says Strong.
“This is a whole new challenge if it’s done effectively,” he said.