14.8.2012 Entries open for 2012 RAC Challenge
Entries are being invited for the third annual RAC Future Car Challenge, taking place on Saturday 3 November – the event was introduced in 2010 to showcase low energy use vehicles.
The Challenge features competitors driving electric, hybrid, hydrogen and low-emission conventional cars on a 63-mile route from Brighton to London. The event is unique in being free to public spectators and a real-world test of current and future vehicle technology.
The RAC Future Car Challenge is increasingly important as awareness of low energy use and low emission vehicles begins to grow rapidly. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported that alternatively fuelled car sales in July 2012 rose by 45.9% to 2,079 units compared to July last year – and an 18% rise was recorded so far this year-to-date.
A spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said: "Every car manufacturer is going to have a hybrid model on its lists by the end of this year, even Ferrari."
Each year an increasing number of entries have come from motor manufacturers (large and small), individuals and research institutes. As well as vehicles currently in production, there have been many taking part that will not be on sale for three or four years – truly future cars.
This year, in response to the increasing level of interest in the event, there has been a major increase in the number of awards categories. There is now a very wide range of categories, totalling 26 – 13 for Production Vehicles and 13 for 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 increasing the number of award categories, the organisers have ensured that performance comparisons with the 2011 event can still be made easily. Publication of the energy used by each vehicle taking part (in accordance with strict measurement protocols) is one of the unique features of the RAC Future Car Challenge – members of the public can see exactly how energy efficient the cars are under real-world driving conditions because of the easily interpreted measurement technology used.
Vauxhall have been the first major car manufacturer to enter for this year's event, and have entered three vehicles. Firstly, their HydroGen4 fuel cell powered EV with technology expected to be available in the UK marketplace from 2016. Their second entrant is the well-known Ampera, the extended range electric vehicle that will be driven by Quentin Willson, and finally an Astra EcoFlex low emission diesel car that is on sale now in the UK.
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 members of the public.
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