Vauxhall is the first major manufacturer to enter the third annual RAC Future Car Challenge, which takes place on Saturday 3 November and finishes at the Regent Street Motor Show in front of 250,000 people.
Denis Chick, Director, Communications, Vauxhall Motors, said: “The FCC has grown into a mature event and Vauxhall is pleased to be able to showcase its latest production and conceptual technologies, in the electric Ampera and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, to a wide audience. The culmination of the event in a very busy Regent Street enables us to engage directly with the car-driving public; many of whom are still sceptical about electric cars and unaware that low energy consumption can contribute to significant fiscal savings.”
Vauxhall has entered three vehicles: a HydroGen4 (a hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric vehicle featuring technology expected to be available to the UK public from 2016), an Astra EcoFlex (a low emission diesel on sale now) and an Ampera (the extended range electric vehicle which won the European Car of the Year award for 2012 and is also available in the UK now). The Ampera will be driven by Quentin Willson, one of Britain’s best-known motoring authorities and an enthusiastic advocate of electric vehicles.
The interest in the RAC Future Car Challenge 2012 reflects changes to the event which provide even more opportunities for manufacturers to get involved with the Challenge and the Regent Street Motor Show. Tom Purves, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club, said: “In just a couple of years the RAC Future Car Challenge has emerged as the most important annual motoring event for showcasing the vehicles people will be driving in years to come. The support from major motor manufacturers worldwide has been tremendous and many of them have already expressed their intention to enter the 2012 Challenge and are currently finalising which models they will enter.”
The event, which is owned by the Royal Automobile Club, and 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. Now recognised as the world’s leading low-energy driving challenge, the event is unique in being free to the public to spectate and a real-world test of current and future vehicle technology.
In response to the increasing level of interest in the event, there has been an increase in the number of awards categories. There is now a very wide range of categories for Production Vehicles and Prototype Vehicles. The awards for Production Vehicles and for Prototype Vehicles include Most Energy Efficient vehicles by size and type (saloon, sports car, light commercial vehicle etc.) and best electric, extended range, hybrid, hydrogen and internal combustion engine vehicles.
In another significant innovation for this year’s running of the event, a revised 63-mile route has been selected with the finish line moved to Regent Street – where the Regent Street Motor Show will be held. This free motor show provides all-day displays of future technology and even the chance to drive an electric car in Mayfair. The show is a unique platform for manufacturers to display and demonstrate their new and future ‘green’ vehicles and developments to the public.
The RAC Future Car Challenge is one of three flagship events owned by the Royal Automobile Club taking place on the weekend of 3 and 4 November 2012. The other two are the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, the world’s longest running motoring event, and the Regent Street Motor Show. Together they make for the largest free-to-spectate annual motoring spectacular in the UK.