Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Goodwood Festival of Speed, held annually on Lord March’s expansive estate near the south coast, has traditionally been the haunt of legendary Le Mans winning V12’s and lithe single-seater racers from the 1950’s. Remember, though, that ‘green’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘slow’.

Recently greener cars have been getting in on the act at the Technology Pavilion. It’s an opportunity to see some of the most exclusive ecological machinery up close as well as the occasional debut – such as a UK first for Porsche’s 918 Spyder and the Jaguar XJ_e Concept this year.


The emphasis for environmentally conscientious cars is increasingly on electricity. Built on what they call a “Network Electric platform”, however, Riversimple’s development platform (no nomenclature, just a ‘car’) is hydrogen-powered and largely constructed of carbon-fibre. With an energy consumption rate equivalent to 300mpg, the small two-seater has a top speed of 50mph and reaches 30mph in 5.5 seconds – much akin to the Renault Twizy.

The car has an electric motor on each wheel, each used for regenerative braking and powered by ultra-capacitors in the rear that are fed by hydrogen fuel cells in the front. The Riversimple is clever in that is utilises several technologies on one diminutive platform.

Morgan Plus E

An electric Morgan, perhaps the ultimate juxtaposition?

With an aluminium chassis that keeps the overall weight down to just 1,250kg, the Morgan Plus E, which debuted earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, is powered by Zytek’s 120kW E Drive – enough to propel it to 60mph in 6 seconds flat and reach top speed of 115mph. In typical Morgan fashion, however, the Plus E is a little different to most electric cars in that it has a manual 5-speed gearbox.

Morgan plan to build a further prototype electric car next year, and should enough interest come from the buying public there will hopefully be a limited production run by 2015.

Toyota 2000GT Solar EV

Toyota’s iconic 1967 2000GT has been on the receiving end of a 21st Century refurbishment making in one of the most desirable EVs we’ve ever seen.

“Crazy Car Project” was launched “with the purpose of making people feel excited about driving cars that don’t have an impact of the environment”, and as the 2000GT is solar powered (via the bonnet), environmental damage really is minimal. A 20kW battery is capable of providing 89kW power and 300Nm of torque. Like the Morgan Plus E, the 200GT also has a manual gearbox (although this one’s a 6-speed).

Ecologically clad in alcantara, the charismatic interior echoes the historic interior – it’s a very special car.

Jaguar XJ_e Concept Plug-in Hybrid

Jaguar’s XJ_e concept is a research vehicle that looks into reducing CO2 emissions without compromising performance – something that is understandably important to a firm that’s most famous car is the E-Type.

The XJ_e achieves less than 75g/km CO2 and an electric-only range of 25 miles whilst managing a 0-60mph time of less than 7 seconds. Jaguar has replaced the traditional 5-litre V8 with a 2-litre hybrid powertrain complete with a 69kW electric motor. The result is over 300bhp and a maximum range of nearly 700 miles, but with drastically reduced CO2 emissions.  Extensive use of lightweight aluminium helps.

Porsche 918 Spyder

First shown as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show two years ago, this year’s Goodwood festival marked the UK debut for Porsche’s mid-engined plug-in hybrid, and apart from a new set of wheels, it’s the same car as it was in 2010. 

Chief Designer Michael Mauer’s most ambitious project has already been green-lighted for production, and it’s hardly surprising.  A 4.6-litre V8 is aided by two electric motors each delivering 105kW allow a sub-3 second 0-60mph time and top speed in excess of 205mph. These figures sound almost implausible given that the 918 is capable of 70g/km CO2 emissions and around 90mpg (not when your foot is welded to the floor, however).

Jaguar C-X75

Jaguar’s Porsche 918 rival is arguably the more impressive of the two.  Again a plug-in hybrid, the C-X75 uses four electric motors (one in each wheel), and batteries that are recharged using diesel powered gas turbines instead of the more usual petrol engine.  Jaguar plan to build a minimum of 250 examples between 2013 and 2015.

Hugo Nightengale, Senior Designer at Jaguar Advanced Design, is the man largely responsible for the C-X75, and if any car needs to seen in the metal rather than a picture, it’s this one.

Undoubtedly more suited to life on a glitzy motorshow stand, it was refreshing to see the C-X75 just sitting on the grass in a glorified marquee.    

Other notable cars included Ford’s popular EVOS concept, which inspired the new Ford Fusion unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show and exhibits Ford’s new design language, as well as Nissan’s Leaf Racer, some real hybrid racing cars, and a brightly wrapped BMW ActiveHybrid 5, more on which we’ll bring you in a few weeks.

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