Inaugural London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally a Huge Success


The first ever London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally ran its inaugural event on Saturday, 18 September, with 71 vehicles in nine different categories crossing the finish line next to the Palace Pier, having driven 59 miles from Parliament Square to Brighton.

The Deputy Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Cllr Mary Mears, welcomed participants as they finished the rally, and BBC Sussex Breakfast show presenter, Allison Ferns, did a live commentary on the vehicles as they crossed the line.

Over 3000 people visited the event on Brighton seafront, where vehicles were displayed following the finish, and other attractions also featured an electric go-kart track and the solar car built by Ardingly College and Ifield Community College that completed the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia in 2015 and 2019.

The inaugural event was the brainchild of co-founders Tom Druitt and Bill Murray, and was put together by The Big Lemon to celebrate the rapid development of electric vehicles and renewable energy technology, and to mark the transition of The Big Lemon’s fleet to electric.

Rally participants enjoying a well-earned pit stop at Ifield College, Crawley. Pic by David McHugh / Brighton Pictures 07768 721637

Sponsored by EDF, Britain’s biggest generator of zero-carbon electricity, the event also included key partners Fully Charged, Endeavour Motors (Polestar), the RAC, Drive Electric, R Symons, InterCounty Mercedes Benz, Zero Motorcycles, Moto-Ebikes, Electric Brighton and Novo Insurance. Charity partners included food redistribution charity Fairshare Sussex and the Martlets Hospice.

The Fareshare electric van charges up before the Rally start

Actor Mark Williams crossed the finish line in a brand-new Polestar electric vehicle supplied by Endeavour Motors, and Cedric Lynch completed the course in a self-built motorcycle created in 1991 that can do 500 miles cruising at 50-60mph!

The Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Cllr Alan Robins; with Consort, Val Cawley; Chair of The Big Lemon, Ron Tanner; and Big Lemon CEO and co-founder of the London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally, Tom Druitt.

The event finished with an Awards Ceremony at The Grand attended by the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Cllr Alan Robins, with awards for the lowest energy consumption in each class. Winners were:

  • Ebike: Dominic Eldred-Earl
  • Motorbike: Michael Kendra
  • City Car: Darren Pullman
  • Saloon Car: Dave Dewson
  • SUV: Ross Henderson
  • Van: Ramon Rottier
  • Minibus: Peter Flynn
  • Bus: Charlotte Hautot
  • Self-build: Cedric Lynch

In addition, awards for most innovative, most sustainable and best presented entries were given to:

  • Most Innovative: JLC Electric Vehicle Solutions
  • Most Sustainable: Cedric Lynch, on his self-built motorcycle with his own Lynch motor
  • Best Presented: Ralph Messenger, with his original (and very polished!) Austin 10 van, converted to electric with Tesla batteries and drive system and complete with driver and co-driver in matching tweed
Ralph Messenger (left) and Robert Scott give a polish to their original converted Austin 10 fitted with a Tesla battery. Pic by David McHugh / Brighton Pictures 07768 721637

And finally The Big Lemon Yellow Riband for Best Ambassador for EVs and Renewable Energy was presented to InterCounty Truck & Van for their continuous and enthusiastic promotion of the benefits of electric vehicles and renewable energy and the importance of transitioning to more sustainable vehicles.

CEO of The Big Lemon and co-founder of the London to Brighton Electric Vehicle, Tom Druitt, said

“Bill and I are so pleased with how the first event has gone and would like to thank our families, our team Jude, Jo and Olivia, the team at The Big Lemon, our sponsors EDF, all our commercial partners, and most importantly all those who participated in the event.

“At the start we always agreed that the most important thing would be for everyone to have a good time, and judging by the smiles on everyone’s faces, we are very happy to say this first event was a great success.

“We are blessed to have met so many enthusiasts for electric vehicles and renewable energy, including a number of people who have built their own vehicles or done conversions of older vehicles. My personal favourites were the converted Austin 10 van, the three-wheeled Bond Bug and Cedric Lynch’s electric bicycle, which completed the whole route using less than a third of a kilowatt hour.”

“This event also marks the transition of The Big Lemon’s fleet to fully electric, and I hope that this and future events will help us achieve our vision of zero-emissions vehicles running on renewable energy offering affordable public transport in every community in the UK by 2030.”

Tom and Bill relax at the end of the night with Nelle, the youngest participant in the rally, aged 4 days

Published by Tom Druitt

From Brighton, UK; MD of The Big Lemon; interests include social enterprise, environment, politics, travel, sailing

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