Brighton sparks: From London to the coast with 70 electric cars

Unfortunately, by the time we enter Parliament Square and hum back across Westminster Bridge for the classic photo-op, the convoy is already in disarray, fractured by the endless traffic lights. I sense that, likeme, many of the drivers haven’t bothered to study the route, choosing to rely instead on the EV in front knowing which way to go.

Some miles later in deepest Streatham, the confidently driven Tesla Model X that I’ve been following takes an odd turn and disappears. I pull over and realise I must head to a checkpoint near Dorking. It’s abit of a faff, and by the time I get there it occurs to me that I should hasten to Brighton via the M23 to see the stragglers in.

As it turns out, I’m the first to arrive at Madeira Drive. The trade stands are ready and curious passersby are lining the seafront promenade hoping to see something – anything. I park up and head for the chapin the bright-yellow suit who I had spotted near the matching buses. It’s Tom Druitt, who in 2007 founded Brighton’s Big Lemon bus company, organiser of today’s drive. It has been moving to green energy andtoday’s event will publicise the arrival of its latest Higer electric buses from China.

A few minutes later, the first of the bona fide rallyists arrives, not surprisingly in a Tesla Model S P100D. This is Andrew and Caroline Garnett’s second Model S. The couple clocked in at all four checkpointsand even had time for breakfast. “I love the Model S,” says Andrew. “We drove from home in Hemel Hempstead to London, then to here, and then we will drive back to Hemel, all on one charge.”

This saloon isn’t all about saving the planet, though. It’s fitted with Ludicrous mode, and every other week Andrew takes it to Santa Pod Raceway to drag-race American muscle cars. “I’ve got the quartermile sprint down to 11.07sec and an average speed of 119mph,” he says. “I’m around mid-table. I’m there a couple of times a month and the car has never missed a beat.”


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