The inaugural Brighton to London Future Challenge, organized by the United Kingdom’s Royal Automobile Club, took place on Saturday, 6 November 2010. Competing cars, separated into four categories, were put on a 91.2km drive from Brighton to London, with the winners being cars that consumed the lowest amounts of energy for the duration of the trip.
The different categories available for the Challenge were the Full Electric (EV), Hybrid (HEV) and Extended Range EV (E-REV) and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) with up to 110g/km CO2 emission. A total of 64 cars from the carmakers and individuals took part in the challenge, which was flagged off from Madeira Drive in Brighton by the Mayor of Brighton, Councillor Geoff Wells at 8:00am.
Notable entries in the field included the Toyota Prius, Toyota Auris Hybrid, Mitsubishi i-MIEV, and Nissan Leaf Electric. A number of diesel cars also had a crack at the event, with several units of the BMW 320d, Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion, Mini Cooper Diesel, and Ford Focus 1.6TDCi among them.
Malaysian carmaker Proton took top prize in the Extended Range EV (E-REV) after its Exora Extended Range Electric Vehicle consumed only 2.2 litres of petrol in the challenge, beating its sole competitor in the category – the Vauxhall Ampera Extended Range EV.
Proton’s second entry in the event was the Saga EV, which competed in the EV category against the Ford Transit Connect electric, Electric Range Rover, Lotus Elise S1 electric, and several units of the Tesla Roadster Sport Electric.
Proton’s entry into the Future Car Challenge was a collaboration with one of its technology partners, Frazer-Nash Research Limited. The Saga EV was driven by Mr Noamaan Siddiqi, an engineer from Frazer-Nash and co-piloted by Mike Grice, a Software Engineer also from Frazer-Nash. The Exora was driven by Steve Riches, a Senior Software Engineer from Frazer-Nash, and co-piloted by Rozadatul Intan Safrina Che Rus, an Engineer from Component & Commissioning Section of Proton’s Green Technology Department.
Proton Holdings Berhad Group Managing Director Dato’ Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir, who was there to receive both cars at the finish line and the winning award, was delighted with the results, “To be able to participate in a challenge like this presented a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our technological capabilities and commitment in developing highly efficient fuel vehicles that are also environmentally friendly. It was a means for us to showcase how far we’ve come in such a short period of time. It is also proof on how PROTON is moving forward into the future – and this technology is the right way to do it.”
“We entered to benchmark ourselves against the best in the industry, and I believe that with the support of partners like Frazer-Nash, we have shown that our technology is not only at par with the other global OEMs, but can be even better,” said Dato’ Haji Syed Zainal Abidin.
“But our success today would not have been possible without the support of our stakeholders, and it is my sincere hope that this support will continue to increase as this will surely help us in our mission to be a role player in the Malaysian government’s green technology initiative – and to become a driving force in the region’s automotive industry
in producing world-class, environmentally-friendly “green” cars,” he added.
Pictures: Official Proton release.