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Stars in environmentally-friendly cars

The Start Eco Car Spectacular

Some of the latest and sexiest green cars were driven today along The Mall, against the backdrop of Buckingham Palace, by a range of celebrities.

The Start Eco Car Spectacular was a high profile and fun way to show green cars to the people of London. The gasps from the crowd at the incredible acceleration of the Tesla Roadsters certainly outweighed any noise from the cars themselves, and you could overhear many people in the crowd carrying out an immediate re-consideration of their views about electric cars – which was the whole point of the event.

The Start Eco Car Spectacular was part of HRH The Prince of Wales’ sustainability initiative ‘Start’, which is presenting positive steps to leading a sustainable lifestyle.

Mulberry founder and Sharpham Park organic food brand owner Roger Saul together with Grand Design’s presenter Kevin McCloud were the key people responsible for having the vision behind this event and making it happen.

Vehicles taking part included the electric Citroen Survolt racing car – certainly one of the main crowd-pleasers – the Westfield iRACER, the Ginetta G50 EV prototype, and the electric Lightning GT, which is a new British creation currently in development.

Some of the current crop of electric vehicles that are either in production or close to production were also on show, including the Renault Fluence , Mitsubishi i-MiEV , Think City and Smart fortwo . There were also electric motorbikes and scooters, along with very bizarre-looking ultra-low emission Shell eco-marathon cars.

James Caan, from Dragon’s Den, drove a TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster across the line to complete its round the world journey (he didn’t actually drive it all the way round the world). James recently invested in Peel Engineering, the company which produced the Peel P50, the smallest car of all time (as demonstrated when Jeremy Clarkson drove one through the BBC offices, including via the lifts).

Other personalities taking part in the event included Sir Stirling Moss, Quentin Willson, Lisa Rogers, Robert Llewellyn, Gabi Roslin, Dame Ellen Macarthur, and the former ‘Stig’ from Top Gear – Perry McCarthy.

As well as a static display and a moving parade, there was also a prizegiving ceremony. The presentation was led by Roger Saul and Kevin McCloud, with help from individuals such as Sir Stuart Rose, Marks & Spencer Chairman. It turned out that no-one seemed to quite know who had won what, but Kevin McCloud ad-libbed in such a highly entertaining way that it didn’t really matter. So we’re still not too sure who won the actual individual prizes – which were composed of bits of waste metal from Roger Saul’s farm – but the winners certainly included Citroen for its Survolt electric racing car, Tesla and TAG Heuer for their round-the-world exploits, and Mitsubishi for the i-MiEV.

EV Cup was a key sponsor of the event, which is the world’s first racing series based totally around zero emission electric vehicles. EV Cup events will feature three different sectors of cars – City, Sports and Prototypes – and the new series is scheduled to have cars racing in 2011.

‘Start’ forms part of The Prince of Wales’, ‘A Garden Party to Make A Difference’, an event lasting twelve days from 8th – 19th September that promotes and celebrates sustainable living.

For more information on the Eco Car Spectacular, visit

See our Start Eco Car Spectacular photo gallery below.

Paul Clarke