Consider it a salute across the English Channel.

French automaker Renault can celebrate a victory of sorts on UK soil after its Zoe all-electric car won the Royal Automobile Club's (RAC) Future Car Challenge, which also included hybrids, hydrogen-powered cars, diesel cars and other "green"-ish vehicles.

Renault joined automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, General Motor's Vauxhall unit, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover on the 63-mile trip from Brighton to London and won the competition for using the least amount of energy among production cars. Other victors in various categories included the Vauxhall Ampera (the sister car of the Chevrolet Volt), the Mercedes-Benz E300 Hybrid and the Jaguar XJ_e.

Renault debuted the production version of the Zoe at the Geneva Motor Show in March, saying at the time that the car would retail in the low $20,000 range after government incentives, but that's not including the electric batteries. Those lease for about $100 a month. The car has a single-charge range of about 130 miles.

Check out the press release from the RAC below.
Show full PR text
Renault UK Win RAC Future Car Challenge with New Flagship Car – The ZOE
3 November 2012

A wide range of low-emission vehicles – some of which had not been seen on UK roads before – completed the third annual Brighton to London RAC Future Car Challenge on Saturday 3 November.

The event, 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, using the least amount of energy as possible. The event is a real-world test of current and future vehicle technology.

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 will not be on sale for two or more years or have rarely been seen on UK roads.

The entrants started from Madeira Drive, Brighton at 7.30am and were flagged off by Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Bill Randall. Many well-known personalities took part including, (Red Dwarf actor and green car ambassador) Robert Llewellyn in a Vauxhall Ampera, (Smooth DJ) Mark Goodier in a Mitsubishi i-Miev, (Team GB British Olympic swimmer) Ross Davenport in a Toyota Prius Plug in, (Coronation Street actor) Tony Hirst in a Nissan Leaf, and (BBC Top Gears' Former Stig) Ben Collins Gear in a Nissan Leaf.

Ben Collins, former BBC Top Gear Stig and 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".

Smooth DJ Mark Goodier, also part of the British Gas Team said: "I'm a huge supporter of RAC Future Car Challenge. Even though I've been driving electric vehicles for a decade, they're still very new to most people. As the current owner of two EVs, it's great to see so many car manufacturers and British Gas coming together to show people how accessible this technology has become. I've experienced first-hand how EVs can have a significant impact on people's carbon profile in both the home and their motoring."

As part of the event, there was a halfway stop at Central Sussex College, Crawley before entrants began arriving at the finish at Imperial College, Pall Mall from just after 10.30am. They were then paraded under RAC escort to The Regent Street Motor Show. The Regent Street Motor Show is rapidly becoming one of the largest FREE motor shows in the UK celebrating the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries of motoring. Aside from the future cars, the show featured the prestigious EFG International Concours d'Elegance which included 100 pre-1905 vehicles that will be taking part in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run the following day.

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.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony in Regent Street, Tom Purves, Chairman of The Royal Automobile Club said: "this has been an excellent event and I want to thank all the drivers, entrants and sponsors who put so much effort into making it a success. It attracted a huge crowd along at Regent Street and has once again brought the future of motoring to the attention of the public."

Overall Production Car winner was Renault, with their new flagship electric car, the ZOE. The five-door 'supermini' has an official range of up 130 miles and can be charged to 80 per cent of its battery capacity in half an hour.

The driver(s) of each vehicle completing the Challenge within the specified time was presented with a Royal Automobile Club Finishers Award and Certificate. In addition, Royal Automobile Club trophy awards were presented to the winners of each of the following categories

Production Vehicles

Most Energy Efficient Small Car (A&B) - Sponsored by RAC Motoring Services
Entrant: Renault Zoe

Most Energy Efficient Regular Car (C) – Sponsored by RAC Foundation
Entrant: Vauxhall Ampera

Most Energy Efficient Luxury Car (E&F) - Sponsored by Bosch
Entrant: Mercedes Benz E300 Hybrid

Most Energy Efficient Light Commercial Vehicle (max 3.5 tonnes) – Sponsored by RAC Motoring Services
Entrant: Renault Kangoo Van

Best Pure Electric Vehicle (EV) - Sponsored by British Gas
Entrant: Renault Zoe

Best Extended-Range Vehicle (E-REV, PHEV) - Sponsored by British Gas
Entrant: Vauxhall Ampera

Best Hybrid Vehicle (HV, HEV) - Sponsored by British Gas
Entrant: Mercedes Benz E300 Hybrid

Best Fuel Cell Vehicle – Sponsored by The Daily Telegraph
Entrant: Vauxhall HydroGen4

Best Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) - Sponsored by Global Fuel Economy Initiative
Entrant: BMW 116d EfficientDynamics

Prototype Vehicles

Most Energy Efficient Small Car (A&B) – Sponsored by RAC Motoring Services
Entrant: Cree SAM Moto-e3

Most Energy Efficient Luxury Car (E&F) – Sponsored by Bosch
Entrant: Jaguar XJ_e

Most Energy Efficient Sports Car (S) – Sponsored by Auto Express
Entrant: Windreich AG ME 2012

Most Energy Efficient Light Commercial Vehicle (max 3.5 tonnes) – Sponsored by RAC Motoring Services
Entrant: Mercedes-Benz Vito Electric Mini Bus

Best Pure Electric Vehicle (EV) - Sponsored by British Gas
Entrant: Windreich AG ME 2012

Best Extended Range Vehicle – Sponsored by British Gas
Entrant: Politecnico Di Torino

Best Extended-Range Vehicle (E-REV, PHEV) - Sponsored by British Gas
Entrant: XAM 2.0

Best Future Car Public Choice Awards - Sponsored by RAC Motoring Services
Entrant: Windreich AG – ME 2012

The Royal Automobile Club Trophy

Best Private Entry - Sponsored by Royal Automobile Club
Entrant: Cree SAM Moto-e3

Technical Panel's Award of Merit - Sponsored by Royal Automobile Club
Entrant: Jaguar XJ_e

RAC Future Car Challenge Winner – Prototype -Sponsored by Royal Automobile Club
Entrant: Windreich AG – ME 2012

RAC Future Car Challenge Winner – Production - Sponsored by Royal Automobile Club
Entrant: Renault Zoe

Notes to Editors:

About The Royal Automobile Club

Founded in 1897, the Royal Automobile Club's continuous support and promotion of the development of motoring in Great Britain began with the famous 1000 Mile Trial in 1900. In recent years the Royal Automobile Club has focused on running the three largest annual free-to-spectate motor shows in the country.

Saturday 3 November saw the third annual RAC Future Car Challenge, which ran from Brighton to London and showcases the performance of low energy use vehicles. A wide range of electric, hybrid and low fuel consumption conventional vehicles took part– some of which will make their debut on UK roads.

The weekend of free motoring action continued with the Regent Street Motor Show, also on Saturday 3 November. Here the world's premier concours event for veteran cars was joined by future cars and iconic vehicles to celebrate the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries of motoring. Regent Street was closed to traffic, making a relaxed and spacious family shopping experience, with displays, stage shows, award presentations and passenger rides.

The world's oldest motoring event, the annual London to Brighton Royal Automobile Club Veteran Car Run, took place on Sunday 4 November with more than 500 vehicles built before 1905. Each year the event has a chosen country to celebrate and in 2012 it was Great Britain – tying in with The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supports The Royal British Legion.

The Royal Automobile Club also presents a number of significant awards each year including The Dewar Trophy which recognises outstanding British technical achievement in the automotive field. The trophy was awarded to the Ford Motor Company on Wednesday 31 October 2012

About RAC Motoring Services:

With over seven million customers, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – RAC is able to meet drivers' needs.

RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its customers and ranked first for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study 2006 to 2009. RAC was also the top-named breakdown organisation in the July 2009, January 2010, July 2010 and July 2011 half-yearly UK Customer Satisfaction Index from the Institute of Customer Service.

Which? Recommended Breakdown Services Provider September 2011 and RAC Insurance has also been awarded the Best Overall Vehicle Insurance Provider 2010/11 by themoneypages.com.

RAC supports FairFuelUK campaigning for fairer taxes on petrol and diesel. Show support and find out more at www.fairfueluk.com

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the online press centre at www.rac.co.uk/press-centre / or contact the press office on 0161 452 4242. Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RAC_Breakdown or Facebook: www.facebook.com/RAC

For more information about the RAC Future Car Challenge, please visit www.futurecarchallenge.com


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      • 11 Hours Ago
      As the twizy, a rather niche car, is showing by its strong sales as soon as EV's get into the right price band the sales take off. 130miles, $20 000 cost and batteries leased for $100 a month sounds pretty close to being mass market to me. I predict that Renault will make some ridiculous prediction about how many cars it will sell, sell a good number at quite a high price and then introduce a 'new' much better or much cheaper model a year or so down the line to try and stimulate sales. Just like Nissan with the leaf (new model 2013) and Chevy with the Volt (reduced cost 2012). As for 20 000 sold in 2013 I wonder if I placed an order for 20 000 Zoe's today if Renault could deliver them by the end of 2013? Or would they just end up like Tesla who have sold 10 000 cars but are struggling to deliver them. My feeling is that the EV revolution is all market pull and is being restricted by supply. It's just a feeling I am by no means an expert, but hey who on the internet is an expert.
      • 11 Hours Ago
      ps For what it's worth. I think that the buying the car for almost the same cost as a normal car and then renting the batteries for the amount that you would normally spend on petrol isn't a bad model. Assuming that is if the batteries degrade to the point where they don't work you just send them back and lease another set for the same cost with no down payment. In fact the question would have to be asked if take away battery life what exactly is going to limit the life of you electric car?
      ericmarseille
      • 11 Hours Ago
      Well, the ZOE is in production all right, but the actual mass production is scheduled only for feburary 2012. AFAIK only one delivery to an end user took place, the famous Marsu Pilami from the French ZOE Forum, who seems to have stopped posting after getting his car - a Renault instruction perhaps? - , so fans like me have no feedback... Despite all the unknowns and little delays, I'm pretty sure the ZOE will be a real success, the first of its kind. Mark my words : I predict more than 20 000 ZOEs sold in 2013, more than 40 000 in 2014, more than 90 000 in 2015
        DaveMart
        • 11 Hours Ago
        @ericmarseille
        Perhaps it is my advanced age making me over-cautious, but I would only recommend leasing this car, together with the battery for exactly the same time period. That way all the uncertainty of the novel separate lease for the battery is taken out, and any problems with battery degradation as this is exactly the same chemistry as that in the Leaf, which has not exactly shown the longevity of Methuselah, are nullified.
          • 11 Hours Ago
          @DaveMart
          LG Chem: 1C 0 cycle = 5,24 ah 800 cycle= 4,77 ah degradation = 9% 100 miles per cycle, 80.000 miles 91%. http://www.cheric.org/PDF/HHKH/HK47/HK47-3-0344.pdf
          DaveMart
          • 11 Hours Ago
          @DaveMart
          That is the manufacturer, not the chemistry. Both use lithium manganese, and although the precise details may differ, they both have way, way lower cycle life than other chemistries.
          • 11 Hours Ago
          @DaveMart
          Fluence ZE and Kangoo ZE with AESC-NEC. ZOE and Twizy with LG Chem. Is not exactly the same chemistry