Our transport man Tim’s second vehicle. His first’s a bike.

By Tim Anderson

Question: how to do you get people who might be persuaded to invest in a low-carbon vehicle to come and visit your eco car show? Answer: hold it at the same time as Grand Designs Live – and let their attendees get in for free.

This stroke of genius by the organisers ensured a steady stream of consumers spilling over from the Grand Designs Live into the EcoVelocity green car show that was held at London’s Excel exhibition centre last week.

EcoVelocity is a showcase for the latest in green technology with full electric vehicles, hybrids and extended range EVs available to view and drive.

Although some car manufacturers didn’t turn up, those that did benefited from the busy exhibition hall. The cars include Nissan’s Leaf, the exciting new Vauxhall Ampera and Peugeot’s selection of new hybrid diesels, to name but a few.

The opportunity to try the vehicles on the three and half miles of service roads around the Excel is surely the best way to demonstrate these new technologies. The public seemed impressed by what they saw, and indeed drove.

The real coup here is that those attending Grand Designs Live not only boost footfall but are the exact target audience for EcoVelocity’s wares. The latest car technologies attract a premium buyer with disposable income, a sensitivity to environmental issues and a penchant for the technological. This fits exactly with the Grand Designs brigade.

Those who snap up those European-designed, techy top-end household items will also be those who consider an electric vehicle or hybrid as their second (or third) car. These early adopters will stimulate the market which in the longer term will push prices down and create used vehicles that the rest of us can benefit from.

All these plug in and hybrid technologies are proof that technologies once thought futuristic are well established in the present. Testament to this is that the Toyota Prius is the world’s best selling hybrid, US top five in any class of car, and indeed in some nations like Japan, the biggest seller full-stop.

From my own point of view, I took to the stage and excitedly spread the news about what the we are doing in this area. I explained our marketing campaigns that are in development along with our new, dedicated advice team who can support consumers with technical advice. Why not give them a call on 0845 602 1425 or email transportteam@est.org.uk