HAGERSTOWN -- Chip Gribben will tell you that electric vehicles are no longer just glorified golf carts.
On the contrary, they are a viable and self-sustainable mode of transportation that people should consider, he said.
Getting that message out was the goal of the Power of D.C. Auto Cross event Saturday at the Valley Mall parking lot. Roughly 15 electric vehicle owners participated in the Electric Vehicle Association of Washington, D.C., event. A number of mall patrons stopped to watch the races.
Craig Garfield with the Sports Car Club of America described Auto Cross as racing laps through a circuit course consisting of straightaways, serpentine "slaloms" and curved "sweepers" that are delineated by cones. Garfield said the course was a half-mile or less in length and took about 30 seconds on average to complete.
"It's just one car against a clock," Garfield said.
The cars taking to the track were not a parade of typical high-performance race cars with revving engines, but an array of electric vehicles, or EVs, with quiet whirring batteries. Among them were production EVs, including a couple of sleek Tesla sports cars and a 2008 BMW Mini Cooper Electric Car -- the Mini E. But the majority of the vehicles on the course were conversion vehicles from which gasoline-powered engines had been removed and batteries and chargers had been installed.