Set against Battersea’s imposing Power Station last year’s Ecovelocity Green Motor Show set itself out to champion the cause for a brighter, cleaner motoring future. It was the first of it’s kind in this country, perhaps worldwide, and showcased the latest consumer cars as well as some more farfetched, exotic machines.
This year’s show, however, migrated east to the Excel in London’s docklands. With a similar formula, visitors were able to test a range of eco production cars and see a few of the eco-supercar old guard at the same time – notably the Lightening GT and Delta E-4. There were, of course, several ‘last of the’ Tesla Roadsters in attendance as well, but unfortunately, and disappointingly, no Model S. What was most striking was that the visitor was more interested in what wasn’t there rather than what was.
Location, location, location - back at the same location of the former British International Motor Show, Ecovelocity simply lost its avant-garde flare and central appeal. Not only this but it had also shrunk to fit the tail end of a rather dominating Grand Designs Show next door! After a somewhat deflating experience upon entering Ecoveloctiy’s diminutive plot, the show’s saving grace was undoubtedly the decent selection of full EVs and hybrids that were available for the public to drive, which went some of the way to making up for the lack of truly interesting metal on the stands and generally uninspiring layout. A test drive route that was suitably long (around 3.5 miles) with roundabouts, tight corners and a few straights gave visitor’s the opportunity to get to grips with cars such as Peugeot’s 508 RXH Diesel Hybrid (as well as it’s sister, the Citroen DS5 Hybrid), through to pure-electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and mia electric. Perhaps the most significant and appealing car for visitors was Vauxhall’s award-winning Ampera and it’s American counterpart, the Volt.
After looking around for this year’s eco-supercar paddock, the realization came that a small roped of square was to be the extent of this year’s ‘exciting’ crop. Made up of just four cars, two of which were Teslas, the only real excitement came in the form of Opel’s otherworldly RAK e concept. That feeling that nobody really cared about the show was plain to see as the RAK e’s roof-pod couldn’t even be opened without the supervision of qualified personnel who clearly was nowhere to be seen!
One of the main obstacles facing electric and, to a lesser extent, hybrid car sales is that they often fail to capture a prospective buyer’s imagination, and with the questionable attitude that many manufacturers have towards shows like Ecovelocity, it’s not going to get any easier. While we understand that the Battersea Station is a difficult venue to secure there are other options and having changed venue and dates several times perhaps its down to Giles Brown’s, Event Manager, poor judgment that Ecovelocity failed in such a big way. In the end, this year’s Ecovleocity was compromised as a motor show - compromised on size and compromised on content - however, sadly the ultimate compromise was on visitor numbers.