A wide range of low-emission vehicles – some of which had not been seen on UK roads before – completed the third annual Brighton to London RAC Future Car Challenge.
The event, 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, using the least amount of energy as possible. The event is a real-world test of current and future vehicle technology.
Those taking part ranged from enthusiasts and independents driving their own vehicles to car manufacturers including Renault, Mercedes-Benz, Vauxhall, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover. Many of the vehicles, such as the Vauxhall HydroGen4, Jaguar XJ_e PHEV and Renault ZOE will not be on sale for two or more years or have rarely been seen on UK roads.
The entrants started from Madeira Drive, Brighton at 7.30am and were flagged off by Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Bill Randall. Many well-known personalities took part including, (Red Dwarf actor and green car ambassador) Robert Llewellyn in a Vauxhall Ampera, (Smooth DJ) Mark Goodier in a Mitsubishi i-Miev, (Team GB British Olympic swimmer) Ross Davenport in a Toyota Prius Plug in, (Coronation Street actor) Tony Hirst in a Nissan Leaf, and (BBC Top Gears’ Former Stig) Ben Collins Gear in a Nissan Leaf.
Collins, now Hollywood stunt driver said, “Over the years I've driven practically every car on the planet. The pace of change in technology has been phenomenal, especially for electric and hybrid cars where fuel efficiency is finally being matched by performance. That's how Audi won the Le Mans 24 hours this year and how I hauled an Electric powered Supercar like the Tesla around the Top Gear track as fast as a Ferrari!
“It’s great to be involved in the RAC Future Car Challenge with British Gas, because it's British Gas which is rolling out the charging infrastructure to make electric cars and vans a practical reality. This superb event showcases just how far electric vehicles have come, how easy they are to use and how affordable they are to run”.
Smooth DJ Mark Goodier, also part of the British Gas Team said: “I’m a huge supporter of RAC Future Car Challenge. Even though I’ve been driving electric vehicles for a decade, they’re still very new to most people. As the current owner of two EVs, it’s great to see so many car manufacturers and British Gas coming together to show people how accessible this technology has become. I’ve experienced first-hand how EVs can have a significant impact on people’s carbon profile in both the home and their motoring.”
As part of the event, there was a halfway stop at Central Sussex College, Crawley before entrants began arriving at the finish at Imperial College, Pall Mall from just after 10.30am. They were then paraded under RAC escort to The Regent Street Motor Show.
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