Today in History: Electric car wins its first race in the US

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On This Day:  September 7

With all the recent headlines on electric cars, you might think the technology is fairly new, but the car that won the very first race in the United States was actually powered by a battery and it won against other vehicles that were propelled by steam and gas.

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The event took place on September 7, 1896 at the Narragansett Trotting Park in Cranston, Rhode Island. The track was originally used for horse racing, but on that day, car companies took over the facilities to put their products on show in what was the very first automobile race in the United States. Some 60,000 people attended and the event received widespread coverage in many newspapers.

The public was initially unimpressed, since the cars had a very slow start (slower than in a horse race) but after taking fifteen minutes for completing five laps, the car built by Riker Electric Motor Company won the race, followed by another electric car and a third gas-powered vehicle.

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