The Chicago Auto Show is pitching an alt-fuel road rally that's likely to be far quicker than the one that inspired it more than a century ago.

On February 15, 13 vehicles ranging from the Tesla Model S all-electric to the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid to the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in to the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will challenge each other in a rally that will start at the city's McCormick Place and run about four hours.

The race is inspired by 1895's Chicago Times-Herald Motor Race, regarded as the first road rally in US history. That "race" featured six vehicles attempting the 50-mile round trip between Chicago and Evanston, IL. Just two of the six vehicles finished, with the winner – a Duryea, pictured – crossing the finish line in about nine hours, according to The Henry Ford Museum website.

For anyone keeping track, That Racing Channel recently staged a drag race with a Model S and a Volt. The Tesla finished a quarter mile almost five seconds (and at 20 miles per hour) faster than the Volt.

Rounding out the Chicago Rally are the Nissan Leaf all-electric; Fisker Karma extended-range plug-in; Tesla Roadster EV; Toyota's Prius and Prius C hybrids and Prius plug-in hybrid; a Volkswagen Passat TDI diesel; a Via Motors Silverado extended-range plug-in; and a Smith Electric Delivery Vehicle. Check out the press release below.
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Electric Vehicles Depart from Chicago Auto Show, Re-trace Course to Evanston

WHAT: For the first time in more than 118 years, America's first Motor Vehicle Race will be recreated - with a slight twist. This time around with electric vehicles only, the Electrified Vehicle Rally will depart from the Chicago Auto Show and re-trace the same route from the original 1895 Chicago Times-Herald motor race.

WHEN: Friday, February 15; Depart at 10 a.m. from McCormick Place / Chicago Auto Show

WHERE: McCormick Place; Gate 41 in the West Building (corner of Indiana and Cermak; park on Indiana from 9:30-10 a.m.)


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

WHY: As electric vehicles become an increasingly popular alternative to gasoline-powered cars, the Electrified Vehicle Rally will recreate the historic Chicago Times-Herald motor race - America's first - this time with all electric vehicles. While electric vehicle rallies are fairly common on the West coast and warmer regions, the Chicago Electrified Vehicle Rally aims to prove these fuel-alternative vehicles fare well even in colder climates.

WHO: The following vehicles will depart from McCormick Place and the Chicago Auto Show:

Chevrolet Volt
Fisker Karma
Ford C-max Energi
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Nissan Leaf
Tesla Model S
Tesla Roadster
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius C
Toyota Prius PHEV
Volkswagen Passat TDI
VIA Motors EREV Silverado
Smith Electric Delivery Vehicle

*Media are encourage to ride along in vehicles

Please contact Mark Bilek ( or Jennifer Morand ( to set up interviews with manufacturers.


About the Chicago Auto Show
The Chicago Auto Show is the largest on the continent, spanning more than 1 million square feet of production, concept, and exotic vehicle exhibit space. In addition to hosting multiple world and North American vehicle debuts, the Chicago Auto Show's First Look for Charity raises more than $2 million annually for 18 worthy Chicago organizations in a single night. The 2013 public show will be February 9-18. For more information please visit or

About The Chicago Automobile Trade Association
Founded in 1904, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association is the nation's oldest and largest metropolitan dealer organization. It is comprised of about 400 franchised new-car dealers and an additional 150 allied members. The group's dealer members employ about 19,000 people in the metropolitan area. The association has produced the world famous Chicago Auto Show since 1935. For more information please visit

The 2013 Chicago Auto Show is officially sanctioned by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. Founded in Paris in 1919, it is known as the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles.

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