Renault has entered four vehicles in this year's annual RAC Future Car Challenge taking place on 3 November – joining Vauxhall and Jaguar as major manufacturers supporting the event. The RAC Future Car Challenge, which is owned by the Royal Automobile Club, and sponsored by RAC Motoring Services, was first introduced in 2010 to showcase low energy use vehicles. It features competitors driving electric, hybrid, hydrogen and low-emission conventional petrol and diesel cars on a 63-mile route from Brighton to London.
Speaking about the company's reasons for entering the RAC Future Car Challenge, Andy Heiron, head of electric vehicle programme, Renault UK, said: "Our main aim is to demonstrate through a combination of the coverage the vehicles and the event get and the independently validated results that electric vehicles are a practical, viable alternative to the internal combustion engine for a significant proportion of car buyers. We would hope to generate coverage and interest in the ZOE and use the results to validate what sort of range figures can be achieved in ‘real world’ conditions when an EV is well driven."
Predictions of the future impact of low energy use vehicles vary. Heiron says: "We forecast that ‘plug-in cars’ will represent 10 per cent of global sales by 2020 and through a combination of EV-friendly policy, driver behaviour and high fossil-fuel prices the UK should be at this level, or higher."
Paul Bostock, hybrids & electrification strategy, Jaguar/Land Rover product development, says: "Industry experts predict that between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of UK cars will have some form of hybridisation or electrification by 2020."