Electric heaven at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed – our guide

The annual Festival of Speed features cars of all types, including KERS-equipped F1 cars (pictured) and a host of electric machinery

By Farah Alkhalisi on June 28, 2011 6:40 PM

Motorsport legends both human and metal, the world’s finest supercars, historically-significant classics and all things fast and powerful feature at the Goodwood Festival of Speed – and this year it’s a showcase for new and next-generation technology as well. Concepts and consumer-ready vehicles alike are going to be on show or seen in action, and there’s a fair few electric vehicles amongst these.

Both ends of the motoring spectrum are covered. The pure electric Rolls-Royce Phantom EE (aka the 102EX), built very nearby on the Goodwood estate, operates in the uppermost echelon of luxury motoring. But for every-day runaround duties, we’d suggest checking out Gordon Murray’s all-electric, super-lightweight and super-efficient T.27 city car; a 1.6m-long tiddler specifically developed for low-cost production and sale. This will be on show in the FOS-Tech pavilion. Murray’s been promising an announcement on his various projects, as well as the start of the programme to bring the T.27 into production, so keep your ears open at Goodwood for more on this.

Somewhere between these two automotive extremes are the family-friendly range-extended Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt (UK pricing for the Volt, which can be seen going up the hillclimb course, may well be announced at Goodwood too), plus the Nissan LEAF.

The LEAF will accelerate up the hill in an unusual fashion. Nissan, with the help of stunt driver Terry Grant, is attempting to set a new speed record for going backwards. Up to 90mph is possible, as its transmission enables it to go just as fast in reverse as forwards. The LEAF NISMO RC racing version is also going to take part.

The Citroen Survolt, a GT racer-style concept first seen last year, will take part in the Supercar Run, and the streamlined land speed record-breaking Peugeot EX-1 will power up the hill, too. It’ll also be on static in the FOS-Tech pavilion, along with the newly-revealed British-built Delta E4 coupe prototype, the Volvo C30 Electric and General Motors’ incredible EN-V concept, a two-wheeled urban transportation pod revealed at last year’s Shanghai World Expo.

Look out also for the Seat IBE coupe concept on static display (previewing the Volkswagen Group’s modular electric-drive powertrain), the Lightning L-EV X2 demonstrator (the Lightning GT is now scheduled for production in 2012 – look out for our report from their factory next month), and the Ruf-built electric Porsche 911.

Further exciting electrified exhibits include the Chevrolet Miray, a cute little hybrid speedster concept with a mid-mounted engine, the supercharged hot-hybrid Honda CR-Z Mugen (in action up the hill), the posh-hatch hybrid Infiniti Etherea concept, the diesel-electric Citroen Hypnos and the Lexus CT 200h.

Toyota is supplying cutaways of the Prius Plug-In and Auris Hybrid (in the FOS-Tech pavilion) so you can check out the tech beneath the surface, as well as showing off the new Yaris Hybrid – and its race-tuned, MR2-derived and mid-engined GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II.

Audi is hoping to bring the diesel-electric e-tron Spyder, last seen at Le Mans, and Jaguar – the featured marque for the Festival – will highlight the 200mph petrol-electric, KERS-equipped C-X75 supercar, scheduled for production in a couple of years’ time.

And just to remind us that hybrids (and indeed, EVs themselves) have actually been around since the earliest days of motoring, Porsche has its replica of the 1900 Lohner-Porsche Semper Vivus.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed – billed as “the largest motoring garden party in the world” and “the world’s greatest celebration of car culture” – takes place on the Goodwood estate near Chichester, West Sussex, on 30th June-3rd July 2011.

It’s not only for petrolheads these days, though once you’ve seen the electric vehicles you could always enjoy the air displays, the Indy 500 racers, the rally legends in action on the specially-created Forest Stage, 100 years-worth of TT motorbikes, the Cartier Style et Luxe concours d’elegance and all the engine-powered excitement… and you’ll maybe catch us there, too!