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Charged Up: Westport rallies for electric cars


Robin Tauck and Westport Building Official Steve Smith drove Tauck’s Tesla Model S during the Westport Electric Car Club Road Rally. Photo: Paul Schott

The momentum continues for the electric car movement in Westport.

Several weeks after an electric-vehicle charging center opened at the Saugatuck Railroad Station, Westport notched another milestone Saturday with the town’s first electric-car rally.

Organized by the Westport Electric Car Club, the rally charted an approximately 40-mile course through Westport and Fairfield. It started at the Saugatuck station and finished at the Blu Parrot restaurant on Charles Street, with a pit stop for participants to briefly attend an Earth Day event at Fairfield Warde High School.

The rally featured about 30 electric vehicles, including Tesla Model Ss, Tesla Roadsters, Chevy Volts, Nissan Leafs, Ford C-Maxes, Toyota Priuses, a BMW ActiveE and a Fisker Karma.

“Recently, we’ve been trying to get back to electrification, and that’s what this whole thing is about,” said Leo Cirino, the car club’s president. “The rally is a way for me, who preaches electrification, to give visibility to the fact that there are a lot of great cars, and we’re going through an explosion right now. The renaissance is well on its way.”

In recent years, Westport has emerged as a locus for electric-vehicle enthusiasts in the tri-state area. The solar-powered charging facility at the rail depot was built to accommodate a growing number of commuters who take EVs to the station. A few hundred yards away, another EV charging port operates in a station lot next to Luciano Park. In the town center, a charging center could eventually open in the Baldwin parking lot on Elm Street.

“There are a lot of early adopters and innovators in Westport, and I think that helps to explain the enthusiasm here for electric vehicles,” said Steve Smith, Westport’s building official. “We’ve definitely been ahead of the curve.”
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