Britain held its first free eco-car show last month on London's famous royal driveway, The Mall. The event was held as part of HRH Prince Charles's latest sustainability initiative “Start”, which aims to promote positive steps to leading a sustainable lifestyle, and was opened by his “Garden Party to Make a Difference”. The Start Eco-Car Spectacular aimed to showcase the future of green transport with a variety of bicycles, cars and other environmental transport solutions.
Parading cars included some of our favorites: the all-electric BMW MINI E; the G-Wiz electric vehicle (EV), billed in 2008 as the greenest commercially available vehicle in Britain; the Honda FCX Clarity, from one of the first major companies to bring a hydrogen fuel cell car to the market; the fast-charging zero-emission Mitsubishi i-MiEV; the electric Smart Fortwo ED (though sadly the newly-revealed Smart E-Scooter Concept was not in attendance); the Vauxhall HydroGen4; the THINK City; the record-breaking Tesla Roadster, which traveled for 313 miles on a single charge in October 2009; and the diminutive Tazzari Zero EV.
Also on show was the TAG Heuer-branded Tesla Roadster just back from its 24,000 mile, 15 country electrically-powered round-the-world trip.
In the motorcycle category there were two universities represented: the team from Kingston University’s Faculty of Engineering presented their electric racing bike for the World’s First Clean Emission Carbon Free Grand Prix; and Brunel's X-team, a clean technology bike racing team formed within the School of Engineering and Design at Brunel University London with the aim of building and racing one zero emission performance motorcycle per year.
Other notable two-wheelers included the Vectrix currently used by the Automobile Association; the PDT Sprint, billed as the world leaders of electric scooters; the Govecs and my personal favorite for zipping around town, the aptly-named Zepii V60.
Finally on the electric bicycle front there was the Wisper; the A2B Metro; the Urban Mover the compact folding Shrinkabike; the i-Scoot fold-up electric scooter; the Segway personal green transport system; and the Cyclus Maximus high-capacity tricycle.
“The day was filled with celebrity endorsements and the support of tens of thousands of spectators, a prelude to the EV Cup race series next year,” said EV Cup Operations Director Andrew Lee. Five awards were given; the Vision Trophy to Citroen, the Endeavour Trophy to TAG Heuer, the Right Here, Right Now Trophy to Telsa Motors, the Future City Trophy to Mitsubishi i-Miev and the Innovation Trophy to Vectrix. With such a prestigious line-up, it certainly looks like the future of motoring will be green and top-quality. We hope HRH will make it an annual event and look forward to seeing the new movers and shakers released in 2011.