World First At The Motor Show

Posted on: 24 July 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

From a car with no dashboard to one partly made of hemp, there are plenty of green offerings at this year’s motor show.

More than 600 cars are on display at the British International Motor Show 2008 which opened its doors to the public on 23rd July.

The show, at the ExCel Conference Centre in London’s Docklands, features over 60 motoring manufacturers from the past, present and future and ends on 3rd August.

From a car with no dashboard to one partly made of hemp, there are plenty of green offerings at this year’s show, including what the makers claim is the world’s only crash-tested and highway-certified electric car.

Unlike many outwardly similar vehicles, which are technically classed as quadricyles, the Think is billed by its Norwegian manufacturer as a “true, modern urban car”.

The two-seater has a top speed of 65mph, accelerates from zero to 30mph in 6.5 seconds and to 50mph in 16 seconds.

It requires just an overnight top-up of electricity and is capable of 126 miles of city driving on a fully charged battery. To charge the batteries from 20 to 80 per cent capacity takes just four hours. The company says that, over 10,000 miles, the total cost of electricity used to power the car will be about £100.

What's more it is a fully environmental vehicle, emission-free and 95 per cent recyclable, according to the manufacturer, with an energy efficiency three times that of a traditional combustion-engined car.

It's also designed to meet the safety requirements of both Europe and the USA, comes with ABS, airbags and three-point safety belts with pretensioners, and surpasses all European and US requirements.

Standard features include power steering, central locking, an electric heater, and electric windows and mirrors. Optional equipment will include air-conditioning, an electrically heated windscreen, sunroof, radio/CD with MP3-, USB- and Bluetooth-compatibility, a navigation and multimedia system, alloy wheels, roof rack and 2 + 2 child seats.

Richard Blundell, Managing Director of Think UK, believes this car will interest drivers who are re-thinking their approach to motoring.

Production of what is the sixth generation of the Think has already started in Norway, and the first cars to arrive in the UK will reach customers next summer. Prices will be announced nearer the time.

The motor show offers eager petrol-heads a first glimpse of the cars which will hit Britain’s roads in the next year.

Land Rover’s LRX concept was shown for the first time in the UK after dazzling visitors at Detroit and Geneva earlier this year.

Other previews included the unveiling of the first all new Lotus since the mid-1990s, the 160mph, 3.5-litre Evora, while Vauxhall lifted the wraps off the Insignia which will go on sale at the end of the year.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown used the opening of the show on Tuesday to announce a raft of measures to persuade road users to go green.

He told a meeting of motor industry chiefs that too few environmentally friendly cars are on their roads and that the Government wants to take the lead in creating incentives for low emission vehicles.

Mr Brown said that the Government is working towards a situation where electric powered cars could be charged up on thousands of streets and he announced £90 million of spending over the next five years.

Are you going to the motor show? Would you consider buying an electric car? Is there a future for electric cars?

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