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Nice Car electric microcar in Trafalgar Square
All-electric Nice Car is currently rated as a quadricycle in the UK, meaning that it has a top speed of 45 km/h (30 mph). It and the Indian-made Reva, called the G-Wiz in Britain, are ideal for travel within the congested confines of London. Nevertheless, the British government is considering having them banned because they don't currently meet the safety standards of normal, gasoline-powered cars whose top speeds are four times that of the Nice and G-Wiz.

Britain's Revolve Eco Rally Draws Green Vehicles

Exclusive photo report from June 5, 2007 Brighton-to-London's Trafalgar Square alternative fuel vehicle rally.

By EV World

EV World contributing correspondent Richard Harding was in London's historic Trafalgar Square today for the arrival of the Revolve Eco Rally, a 53-mile, cross-country jaunt from Brighton on the English Channel to central London exclusively for 'green cars' like those pictured below.

Besides snapping pictures for EV World, Mr. Harding also talked to some of the participants, in particular representatives for Nice Cars and the Reva G-Wiz. As EV World has been reporting, the Labor Government has taken it upon itself to investigate banning these small, efficient electric cars because they consider them unsafe, despite the fact that they seldom reach their top speed of 45 km/hr (30 mph) in Greater London traffic where the average speed has gone from 14 km/h prior to the imposition of the congestion charge to just over 16 km/hr.

EV World requested Harding to specifically query representatives of the two micro-car companies their reaction to the Transport Ministry's actions.

The Nice Car representative stated these cars are "street-legal" and comply with European quadricycle regulations. He added that when the law is changed, "then they would uprate the 'crash-testing' criteria of their vehicles when they became 'cars'.

Both Nice Car and G-Wiz told Harding that as low-speed neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs), "they never reached 'bad-accident' speeds, which is why they had a safe record." Harding further reported that both the Nice Car and G-Wiz joined the rally in Croydon, some 15 miles outside of London since both have a range of about 30 miles on a charge and aren't permitted on high speed roads or motorways.

EV World will continue to monitor and report on developments in this story as they evolve.

Also participating in the rally were more sophisticated alternative fuel vehicles including several fueled by hydrogen. These included BMW's Hydrogen 7 sedan, a Ford Explorer powered by a hydrogen fuel cell (pictured below), General Motor's Hydrogen3 fuel cell car, and one of Honda's FCX vehicles. Various dual-fuel vehicles powered by LPG and ethanol also took part.

On display in Trafalgar Square were the ENV hydrogen motorbike and the Vectrix all-electric scooter (also pictured below).

However, our intrepid Mr. Harding was most impressed by the Modec 2-ton, all-electric lorry (pictured below). He reports:

I found battery powered vehicles the most impressive, led by the Modec 2 ton van (www.modec.co.uk), which had driven the 53 miles coming, and, I gather, could have done the return journey too - and there was some motorway section in the journey. They are on top of battery development and hope to have Lithium-Ion units fitted soon.

The original "Brighton Run" in 1904 commemorates the abolition of the "man with the red flag" who was required to walk in front of all "horseless carriages" that were restricted at the time to a top speed of 4 mph; they could now go 14 mph, which ironically is still faster than the average speed in London today.

Incidentally, Harding reports that on his drive down to London and back he got 70 mpg in his Toyota Prius. He also didn't have to pay the city's congestion charge.

Selected Photos

Ford Explorer powered by hydrogen fuel cell
Ford Explorer propelled by electric drive powered by hydrogen fuel cell.

Vectrix electric maxi-class scooter
Pair of Vectrix maxi-class electric scooters.

Modec 2 ton all-electric lorry
Modec 2 ton all-electric lorry (van).

Lexus 450h in front of Nelson's Column
Lexus 450h gasoline-electric hybrid in front of Nelson's Column.

Times Article Viewed: 8449
Published: 05-Jun-2007

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