The second RAC Future Car Challenge was another big success, with the world's largest and most innovative car firms all using the high-profile event to showcase their latest technology.
The competitive element also provided a rare opportunity to see how this new technology compares to one another. The run from Brighton to London was fully logged by data monitors, so the total energy consumption of all cars could be compared and contrasted – whatever their fuel source.
Multiple categories mean similar technologies could be grouped together, too. So, who are the green leaders for 2012 across all categories? Read on to see the full rundown.
Category: Most Energy Efficient Small Car (Production)
Winner: Smart Fortwo electric coupe
Combining the Fortwo’s small, light body, with a purely electric drivetrain meant energy efficiency success in the small production car category. It is available, but only to lease and in tiny numbers.
Category: Most Energy Efficient Small Car (Prototype); Best Overall Pure Electric Vehicle; Best Overall Entry - RAC Future Car Challenge Winner
Winner: T.27 Gordon Murray Design
Light weight, innovative design and the genius of famous designer Gordon Murray meant the T.27 claimed victory in three separate categories. Averaging an equivalent of 350mpg (!), it was easily the most energy efficient vehicle in the contest.
Category: Most Energy Efficient Regular Car (Production); Best Overall Vehicle on Sale at Time of Event
Winner: Nissan Leaf
The Leaf was always going to be a strong contender for honours, being one of the few EVs currently available in the size of a ‘regular’ car, offering hatchback practicality and room for four adults.
Category: Most Energy Efficient Large Car (Production)
Winner: Peugeot 508 e-HDI
Not fitted with Peugeot’s diesel hybrid drivetrain, but a mere 1.6-litre diesel with a start/stop function. Despite this, the handsome saloon managed a best in class, averaging 44.6kWh over the run.
Category: Most Energy Efficient Sports Car (Production)
Winner: Tesla Roadster
The rate of development of electric sports cars is gaining momentum, but the Tesla remains the only viable production model on the market, meaning an easy win as the most efficient sports car.
Category: Most Energy Efficient Light Commercial Vehicle (Production)
Winner: Mercedes Benz Vito E-Cell
Instant peak torque from its 60kW motor means this full EV van makes for an ideal load lugger. 50 examples are already on lease in the UK, with more planned for next year.
Category: Best Overall Hybrid (HV, HEV) Vehicle
Winner: Oaktec Honda Insight Rally Car
Deemed too fast to compete in its rally class, yet managing an equivalent of 93.8mpg on the run from Brighton, Oaktec’s entry proves you don’t have to sacrifice performance in the pursuit of a clear carbon conscience.
Category: Best Overall Combustion Engine (ICE) Vehicle
Winner: Mini Cooper D Olympic Edition
Out on the UK market for a number of years, the Cooper D is one of the most fuel efficient combustion engine cars available. With low emissions and running costs, it is also amongst the cheapest to run, if not to buy.
Category: Best Overall Private Entry
Winner: Lotus Elise S1 Electric
This Lotus EV conversion captured the imaginations of the judges. Its lightweight body means it retains some of the handling characteristics of the regular Elise, despite the heavy electric drivetrain.
Category: People's Choice
Winner: Delta E4 Coupe
Good looks go a long way, as this pretty EV sports coupe proves, winning the People’s Choice award. Performance oriented, it has a carbon-fibre chassis and an equivalent 214bhp, meaning a top speed of 116mph.