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RIVERSIDE: Electric vehicle caravan makes local pit stop

Ride the Future Tour participant Duane Leffle, 54, of Nashville, second from right, talks with Riverside City Councilman Chris Mac Arthur next to Leffle’s Nissan Leaf, an electric vehicle, on Thursday, Aug. 8. Leffle was among a small group of people that made a brief stop in Riverside during its attempt to set a Guinness record by driving from coast to coast, using only electric vehicles.

They kicked gas in their electric vehicles.

A group promoting the benefits of green transportation made a pit stop in Riverside Thursday, Aug. 8.

Riders of an electric car, motorcycle, bicycle and scooter are nearing the end of a roughly 4,000-mile transcontinental trek.

The Ride the Future Tour is aiming to set four Guinness World Records for the longest distance traveled on each of the four electric vehicles.

The 45-city trip began July 4 in Columbia, S.C., and is expected to conclude Aug. 16 in Mountain View.

Ben Rich, a 36-year-old New Jersey resident, parked his Zero S motorcycle outside the Culver Center near Riverside City Hall and greeted former Mayor Ron Loveridge and a small group there to support the cause.

“We want to have cleaner air and we want to get off foreign oil,” Rich said in an interview. “There’s never been a war over electricity, but there have been wars over oil.”

A short time later, a driver and passenger in an all-electric Nissan Leaf pulled up. The A2B bike and two Xenon scooters arrived about two hours later.

The drivers shared their experiences inside the Culver Center. They fielded questions from Loveridge and others about how they made it on electricity from one coast to the other.

“Crazily, maybe,” answered Duane Leffel, a 55-year-old Nashville, resident who used to work for Nissan. “It’s been a big adventure.”

Traveling about 80 or 90 miles a day, the group planned to take a straight line across the country but had to adjust the itinerary to meet the varying speeds and charging requirements of the vehicles.

East of the Mississippi River, the group said they found an abundance of charging stations. West of the Mississippi was a much bigger challenge because of the distance between cities and the limited number of stations.

So they juiced up at RV parks and in hotel rooms using outlets that power air conditioning units.

That presented some tricky issues.


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