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ZOE: tomorrow’s pioneer wins Brighton to London Future Car Challenge

Each year on the first Sunday of November, the road from London to Brighton on the England’s South Coast becomes a moving museum as it fills up with more than 500 pioneering veteran cars. The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run has taken place almost every year from 1927 and is the longest running motoring event in the world.

But it’s now been joined by a second event over the same weekend, this one looking to cars of the future rather than the past.

Sunday’s run is open only to cars built before 1905 and commemorates the original ‘Emancipation Run’ of 1905. This celebrated the demise of what was known as the Red Flag Act, which had required an ‘automobilist’ to have a man walking 60 yards (55m) ahead, holding a red flag to warn the public that a horseless carriage was on its way.

But while the London to Brighton Run remembers motoring’s pioneers, the new run – this time covering the 63 miles (101kms) in the reverse direction from Brighton to London – celebrates tomorrow’s innovators.

Held each year since 2010 on the day before ‘the old crocs run’, the RAC Future Car Challenge showcases modern low energy use vehicles, pitching electric vehicles up against hybrids, prototypes, hydrogen-powered cars and low-emission petrol and diesels. It is billed as ‘a real world test of current and future vehicle technology.’

And this year, Renault scooped no fewer than four awards. The Renault Kangoo Z.E. van was the most efficient light commercial on the run while the Renault ZOE took three awards, including those for the Best Pure Electric Vehicle and the Most Energy Efficient Small Car.

Most significantly ZOE was also judged the overall RAC Future Car Challenge Winner (Production).

Andy Heiron, UK Head of Renault’s Electric Vehicles Programme, said: “I’m delighted to have won four out of 19 categories. Our current three-model range has already been attracting a lot of interest, especially the unique Twizy. The proof of the pudding though is trying them out. We’re confident that after experiencing the refined and responsive driving experience of a purely electric vehicle, combined with the financial and environmental benefits of switching to an electric vehicle, potential buyers will be smitten.”

Upon reaching the capital, all entrants in the Future Car Challenge were escorted into Regent Street, in the heart of London’s West End, where they went on show… and where they rubbed wheels with 100 of the pre-1905 veterans due to make the reverse journey the next day. If anyone needed proof of how far the car has come in a little over a century, a trip to Regent Street revealed all.

Pictures: Copyright Renault UK Limited