Eco-rally shows off future fuels – wine, cheese, and sewage

Some of the world's greenest vehicles take part in an eco-rally today

A sports car that runs on fuel made from cheese or wine, another that can run for more than 200 miles on a 10-minute charge of electricity, and a "Bio-Bug" powered by gas from sewage are among 20 vehicles of the future taking part in an eco-rally today.

Starting at Oxford this morning, the cars were due to make a two hour pit stop at the Building Research Establishment Innovation Park in Watford – allowing electric powered vehicles to recharge before continuing to The Mall in central London.

Now in its fifth year, the rally, sponsored by Bridgestone tyres and organised in association with the Prince of Wales's environmental initiative, Start, is designed to showcase low- and zero-emission vehicles.

Road transport accounts for almost a quarter of Britain's carbon dioxide emissions. While electric cars still cost more than their petrol rivals, a recent study by the Department of Energy and Climate Change claimed that the costs can be balanced out in the long run because electric cars are far cheaper to run. In a bid to promote electric cars earlier this year, the Government approved the construction of 11,000 charging points over the next 18 months, siting them in supermarkets, streets and car parks at a cost of £400m.

Rising petrol prices and the recession are helping to steer people towards greener cars, according to Andy Dingley, a spokesman for Bridgestone UK. "Vehicles that use fuels other than petrol or diesel are no longer concept cars of the future, but production cars of today," he said. This year has seen a number of car makers, including Mitsubishi, Nissan and Peugeot launch electric models. An electric version of the Ford Focus is due in 2013.

Last week, Ecotricity announced the first national charging network – with plans for charge points at 27 motorway service stations across the UK by 2014.

Lightning GT

£150,000+

Electric supercar; 0-60 mph in five seconds, top speed of 125mph. Range: 200 miles. Recharge in just 10 minutes.

Green rating: 4

Family friendly: 0

Top Gear factor: 5

Nemesis

Cost £750,000+ to develop

Built by Formula One engineers and powered by 96 lithium batteries; 0-100mph in 8.5 seconds; top speed 170mph. Range 150 miles.

Green rating: 5

Family Friendly: 0

Top Gear factor: 5

Peugeot 508

£21,975

Hybrid car, with 1.6 litre diesel engine and electric battery. 'Stop & Start System' means that emissions are zero in traffic.

Green rating: 2

Family friendly: 5

Top Gear factor: 2

Delta E-4 Coupe

£70,000-£80,000

Made by British company Delta Motorsport, it has a top speed of 140mph. Lithium ion phosphate battery; range of around 200 miles.

Green rating: 4

Family friendly: 0

Top Gear factor: 4

Biodiesel Audi TT TDi

Customised by Turner Race Developments, not for sale.

Has a top speed of 145mph but can do 67 miles to the gallon on biodiesel.

Green rating: 1

Family friendly: 2

Top Gear factor: 3

Lotus Exige 270E Tri-Fuel

Prototype, not for sale.

Capable of running on any combination of petrol, methanol, or bio-ethanol. Top speed of 158mph and 0-60mph in 3.88 seconds.

Green rating: 1

Family friendly: 0

Top Gear factor: 4

Honda Jazz Hybrid

£15,995

An electric nickel-metal hydride battery powers a 10kW electric motor, helping it achieve 63 miles per gallon.

Green rating: 2

Family friendly: 5

Top Gear factor: 0

Tesla Roadster

£87,000

Powered by 6,831 lithium ion cells. Top speed of 130mph; 3.7 seconds 0-60, and 245 miles on a single charge.

Green rating: 3

Family friendly: 0

Top Gear factor: 5

Nissan LEAF

£25,990

A lithium-ion battery pack gives it a top speed of 90mph; 100 miles on a single charge.

Green rating: 5

Family friendly: 5

Top Gear factor: 1

Biobug – aka 'Dung Beetle'

Prototype. Not for sale

Top speed of 110mph – runs on methane generated from sewage. Waste flushed down the toilets of just 70 homes in Bristol is enough to power the Bio-Bug for a year.

Green rating: 4

Family friendly: 4

Top Gear factor: 1

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