Boris backs green run
On Saturday 9 October, five cars and crews took part in a trial run of the Royal Automobile Club’s new RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge, which will take place on Saturday 6 November. Being held for the first time this year, the event is a very public showcase for low-energy impact vehicles and the Royal Automobile Club believes this will be the largest event of its kind to be held on UK roads.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The Future Car Challenge is set to show off a fantastic range of greener transport choices. I want London to be leaders in the take up of vehicles fuelled by low polluting technologies. This is why we are working hard to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe to improve our air quality, reduce traffic noise and contribute significantly to cutting carbon emissions.”
The trial run was an opportunity to reconnoitre the route and test the logistics of the event which is being part sponsored by the RAC Foundation. The five crews comprised entrants in the event as well as members of the organising team and the vehicles included a Vauxhall low-emission Astra, Nicholson McLaren Citroën Nemo Electric van plus Toyota Prius and Auris hybrid cars. They assembled at the Metropole Hotel, Brighton – the finishing point for the Emancipation Run of November 1896, an historic event that promoted and demonstrated the capabilities of the then recently invented horseless carriage and which included three electric vehicles. Harry Lawson was a founding member of the 1896 Emancipation Run and it was appropriate that his direct descendant, Henry Lawson, took part in the trial run and has entered the RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge with his own Toyota Prius.
The electric vehicles used were charged for the run at the hotel and the crews started on Saturday morning from Madeira Drive Brighton, following the exact route of the November Challenge, and finishing in Waterloo Place London close to the Royal Automobile Club’s headquarters in Pall Mall. For some members of the crews, it was their first experience in an electric vehicle – thus recreating the pioneering spirit celebrated each year by the famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Motoring Committee, said: “It was an important, very useful, exercise and interesting to drive an electric car for the first time. It was also exciting to see the team from Imperial College in action, defining the energy measurement process and really understanding what the Future Car Challenge is all about. We all learned lessons and there was a spirit to the event as drivers tried to maximise their driving efficiency.”
The RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge is open to the latest electric, hybrid and low-emission passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and motorcycles. Trophies will be awarded in different categories for vehicles judged to have made the least energy impact during the 60-mile Brighton to London run. To ensure that the energy use of each vehicle is measured accurately, special Data-logger units have been designed and produced by leading British technology companies, GEMS and Flybrid Systems. . These devices were fitted to the cars used on the trial run and performed faultlessly.
Each vehicle of type EV and HFEV entered in the RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge will be fitted with a similar device which will be removed for analysis at the finish. Fuel consumed will also be accurately measured and post-graduate students from Imperial College London will have just one hour to download all the information to calculate the winners in each category. Further, in-depth, analysis will be carried out by the students back at Imperial College London and each entrant will receive a comprehensive breakdown of the performance of their vehicle. A number of the Imperial College students were involved in the trial run.
By the closing date of 30 September, there were more than 60 entries, including EV, HEV, PHEV, HFEV and low-emission ICE vehicles from the majority of the leading vehicle makers of the UK, for the RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge – an extremely strong and rewarding endorsement of this inaugural event.
Notes for editors
The RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge takes place on Saturday 6 November, the day before the Royal Automobile Club’s world famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. Starting at Madeira Drive, this unique live event will use the traditional 60-mile veteran car run route in reverse.
Start (Madeira Drive, Brighton) at 08:30 to 09:00.
Halfway stop (Crawley) 09:30 to 10:30.
Finish (Pall Mall, London) 11:15 to 12:30
Presentation (Regent Street, London) 12:30 to 16:00.
The formal finish will be in Pall Mall followed by a special ceremonial finish and presentation in Regent Street. Here, the vehicles will join the display of more than 100 pre-1905 motor cars in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run International Concours in front of an estimated 250,000 audience.
More than 60 vehicles have entered to participate in this inaugural event. They are coming from manufacturers, institutions, individual motoring pioneers and private owners. The event will be staged, promoted and judged in the three categories – Electric, Hybrid and Internal Combustion Engine. Within each category, entries will be measured in various modes for the energy used during the drive from Madeira Drive to Pall Mall. The challenge will be to complete the event with the least energy impact.
Each of the 25 category winners will receive an engraved Royal Automobile Club trophy and the overall winner will receive the coveted Royal Automobile Club Gold Medal. There will also be an award for the best private entry and each classified finisher will receive a Club medal and certificate.
The RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge will be judged by the event’s Technical Panel comprising: Ben Cussons, Chairman (The Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee), Dr David Bizley (Director of Technical RAC), Richard Parry-Jones (industry), John Wood (Institution of Mechanical Engineers), Dr Ricardo Martinez-Botas (Imperial College London) Steve Cropley (Autocar) and John Hilton (Flybrid Systems).
Since its creation in 1897, The Royal Automobile Club has actively supported and promoted the development of motoring in Great Britain including the introduction of the famous 1000 Mile Trial of 1900; the first motor race (the Tourist Trophy) in 1905; the first British Grand Prix in 1926 and, since 1930, the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. This celebrates the Emancipation Run of November 1896, an historic event that promoted and demonstrated the capabilities of the then recently invented horseless carriage at a time when electric and steam power, as well as the internal combustion engine, were competing for mass-production dominance.
In March 2010, The RAC Foundation, one of the sponsors of the event, produced a report on the potential of low carbon vehicle technology entitled Driving Down Emissions. The report concluded: The challenge is not only to stimulate both the supply and demand side of the low carbon vehicle market, but to make sure progress on each happens in tandem. It will not be easy but it must be done.
For more information about the RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge, including regulations and entry form, visit www.futurecarchallenge.com
The RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge is kindly supported by the RAC, Goodyear, the RAC Foundation, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Imperial College London; City of Westminster, Brighton & Hove City Council, Crawley Borough Council, Central Sussex College and the Regent Street Association.
The RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge is organised and promoted on behalf of The Royal Automobile Club by Motion Works – the organising team of the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
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