Plans for the inaugural Charging Across America Challenge (CAAC) have been announced by event founder Robert Swartz. Designed to promote the nation’s transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and the growing EV infrastructure network, the event kicks off April 18, 2022, with finish-line crossings scheduled in Redondo Beach, California, and New York City on April 22, 2022 (Earth Day).
The challenge features two Energica riders, Swartz and Steven Day, attempting to break the Cannonball cross-country electric motorcycle record of 178 hours and 17 minutes. Both riders will simultaneously journey coast-to-coast in opposite directions following the original 2,906-mile route of the Cannonball Run, creating a unique “race within a race.”
“I built a Model T Speedster before I got my drivers license, so Henry Ford was my hero. Ford co-sponsored America’s first real coast-to-coast competition in 1909, the ‘Ocean-to-Ocean Automobile Endurance Contest,’ a race from Manhattan to Seattle. Growing up in the ‘70s, the Cannonball Run was extremely popular. I combined these events to create the ‘Charging Across America Challenge’ to promote high-performance electric motorcycles and clean energy,” said Swartz, owner of three motorcycle businesses – Rob’s Dyno Service, Motus of New England and Energica of New England (EONE).
Voltrek recently supervised installation of a fast-charging system at Swartz’ EONE facility. “Voltrek is proud to sponsor the Charging Across America Challenge,” commented CEO Kathleen Connors. “This unique competition showcases the power and range of today’s zero emission motorcycles while dispelling ‘range anxiety’ by highlighting the nation’s expansion of reliable charging infrastructure. Riders will visit dozens of EV charging stations, including ChargePoint hubs, one of the world’s largest EV charging networks.”
Stefano Benatti, CEO of Energica Motor Company Inc., also added, “Real-world endurance contests are a true test of individual rider and machine, but even more so with electric powered vehicles. Strategy is more important than top speed, since air temperature, wind and elevation changes affect electric vehicle range far more than conventional internal combustion vehicles. This requires precise advanced planning based on charging station availability and anticipated riding conditions. It’s a far more subtle and difficult challenge than a typical record attempt.”
Vanson Leathers is providing custom-fitted safety leathers for both riders. “We’ve worked with Rob for many years. We can’t wait for Earth Day to see who wins and what the new record will be,” said Vanson founder, Michael van der Sleesen.
“I’m delighted to have Voltrek and Vanson Leathers as our initial sponsors for this first-time event to promote Earth Day and electric powered vehicles. I’ve worked with each of these companies and look forward to promoting businesses I know and trust,” said Swartz, who is seeking additional sponsors to help offset event expenses. Details available at caac2022.com.