Start EcoCars – Bridgestone Eco-Rally

It costs just £1.19 to travel from Brighton to London IF you take a THINK electric battery powered car…

The THINK at the rally Start of the eco rally

This was what Roger Saul found when he went head to head for the second round of the Start Eco Car Trials with Kevin McCloud.

The pair set out to see who could get to London from Brighton as part of the Bridgestone Eco Car Rally with the smallest carbon footprint. They were joined by BBC’s Radio 4’s Peter Curran in a third THINK which had just returned from a month long journey around Europe testing just how easy or difficult it would be to plug in as you go, so to speak…

With a host of other eco cars, from a very sexy looking battery powered Ginetta supercar, a flight of three electric 0/60 in under 4 seconds Teslas and a host of serious Eco cars from Tata to Mini E with the legendary Paddy Hopkirk at the wheel and a host of serious motoring and sustainability celebrities, the fleet set out from the heart of motoring speedways Madeira Drive.

The THINK in action
Roger once raced to win the Brighton Speed Trials in a 1934 Alfa Romeo Single seater at 110 mph in just 10 seconds on the very same stretch, ironically or not this time he had to get to London and winning meant beating Kevin McCloud by not putting his right foot down if he could possibly help it!

Luck or a modern Alfa Romeo at a set of Traffic lights, before they had even left Brighton, was to be his saviour. Kevin just could not resist the chance to show a boy racer that he was having none of it, the red mist came down as his Red THINK out dragged the Alfa off the line. Roger meanwhile hunkered down in the slipstream of the Red THINK and his very Blue THINK just bided its time.  It actually was a lot of time, as they all got to London there was plenty of it to chat with Peter Curran through the window and find out about his odyssey of a journey and who in Europe got it and who couldn’t understand what Electric power was all about.

In the endless traffic jams as they wended their way through South London, interestingly the electric cars used very little charge, whereas their combustion engine equivalents were burning it away. On the journey there were lots of questions from the public. What happens to those pedestrians who are deaf or blind, how do you know when you will run out of battery, what will they cost? etc etc

Well the last question was answered very quickly as the on board THINK engineer had the answer within minutes of arriving at the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park. Roger Saul spent £1.19 Kevin McCloud spent £1.54 and Peter Curran spent £1.62. What would combustion engine car cost? Well a modern salon doing 40mpg would on average use £7.69 worth of fuel plus £8 London congestion charge, plus parking charge. The train well that was faster, but then it cost nearly 20 times as much.

Plenty of food for thought… Lots more to understand… The real winner was of course not Roger Saul or Kevin McCloud but the future, could this be the Start of a quiet revolution?

The Start Festival is taking place in London and running from the 8-19 September 2010. The Start Eco Car Spectacular, curated by Roger, will be open to the public on Sunday 12 September and will take place on the The Mall, one of the most iconic streets in the world – showcasing an exciting display of the World’s most innovative eco super cars, runabouts and concept cars, with an array of new motoring inventions and environmental motoring solutions.

Start is the creation of HRH The Prince of Wales to help people across the UK lead more sustainable lives, aiming to demonstrate what a more energy efficient, cleaner and healthier future could look like and how each individual can make a start.

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