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Jones Beach State Park hosts electric car test track event

An undated photo of Jones Beach State Park

An undated photo of Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh. Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Ever wonder just how quiet an electric car is or how smooth its transmission?

Jones Beach State Park will have a test track on Sept. 14 for motorists to check out clean fuel vehicles, officials said.

Sedans, SUVs, pickups, golf carts, on- and off-road vehicles and construction and maintenance equipment will be on hand for the National Drive Electric Week event.

The test vehicles will be powered by different kinds of engines, as the industry sorts out which systems will dominate: hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen or propane.

While Tesla Motors has yet to say whether it will attend, let alone bring its Ludicrous model that accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 2.5 seconds, the state parks department said at least 13 other manufacturers will take part.

As of now, Toyota is planning to bring its hydrogen fuel cell Mirai, a Rav 4 sport utility vehicle, and a Prius, said Michael Wise, the park department’s director of energy and sustainability.

Chevrolet will have a Malibu Hybrid and a Volt, while Honda will feature a Civic that runs on compressed natural gas, he said in an email.

Although the general public is invited to the free event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wise said the test drives mainly were geared toward enticing large fleet buyers, such as state and local agencies, to buy clean fuel vehicles.

“Governmental agencies are our main target audience,” he said.

That is why drivers also can try out various kinds of utility vehicles, golf carts, fairway mowers, and other equipment, including a mini excavator.

The manufacturers of those vehicles include: Hino Trucks, Kia, Polaris, Toro, R&R, Jacobsen, Motorworks, LandiRenzo, and OSC Equipment.

“Attendees should get a good feel for the vehicles,” Wise said, as the oval test track in Field 3 will be a “considerable” length. And, he said, “there is no time limit on the test drive.”

Parking will be in Field 4; the rain date is Sept. 15.

The first of what will be an annual Ride-and-Drive event fits with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy of encouraging people to drive electric by expanding charging stations and incentivizing institutions to develop new technologies.

Jones Beach was chosen for the test track because it has enough space, and the parks department already has experience with clean fuel vehicles, Wise said.

More than 1,000 vehicles in its fleet runs on clean fuel, about 24 percent of the total. “It is our intention to replace gasoline and diesel vehicles with clean fueled vehicles where appropriate,” Wise said.

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