The third annual challenge, covering a 63 mile route between Brighton and London saw a host of electric, hybrid, hydrogen and low emission petrol and diesel cars pitted against each other.
A reverse run of the classic London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which itself took place on Sunday, spilt vehicles into two distinct classes; production and prototype.
Those taking part ranged from enthusiasts and independents driving their own vehicles to major 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 are not yet on sale and have rarely been seen on UK roads.
Starting on Madeira Drive, on the Brighton seafront, the cars take a scenic route through the South Downs countryside before heading into London to join the Veteran cars for the Regent Street Motor Show.
The event attracts a host of famous names, with participants this year including our columnist and Red Dwarf actor, Robert Llewellyn in a Vauxhall Ampera, Smooth DJ Mark Goodier in a Mitsubishi i-Miev, British Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport in aToyota Prius Plug in, Coronation Street actor Tony Hirst in a Nissan Leaf, and Top Gears’ former Stig, Ben Collins Gear in a Nissan Leaf.
Many of the famous names took part in association with British Gas, which entered a number of vehicles.
Ben 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”.
First introduced in 2010, the challenge is designed to showcase the possibilities of energy efficiency of modern vehicles. A real-world test of vehicle capabilities, the cars are judged on their efficiency rather than their speed.
This year the number of awards categories had been increased for production vehicles and prototype vehicles and included most energy efficient vehicles by size and type (saloon, sports car, light commercial vehicle etc.) best electric, extended range, hybrid, hydrogen and internal combustion engine vehicles.
Winners in the production class included the Vauxhall Ampera in the Most EnergyEfficient Regular Car class, the Mercedes-Benz E300 Hybrid in the Most Energy Efficient Luxury Car class, Renault Kangoo Z.E in the Most Energy Efficient Light Commercial Vehicle and the Vauxhall HydroGen4 in the Fuel Cell Vehicle class.
Prototype winners included the SAM Moto-e3 in the Most Energy Efficient Small Car class, the Windreich AG ME 2012 in the Best Pure Electric Vehicle (EV), the XAM 2.0 in the Best Extended-Range Vehicle class and the Jaguar XJ_e in the Most Energy Efficient Luxury Car (E&F).