Sexy green cars
Wake up call for the sleeping giants of the motor industry
Pulse correspondent, David North, visited the Eden Project’s recent Sexy Green Car Show and reports on a major media coup.
Take a drive on the dark side
Subscribing as I do to the school of thought that the motor vehicle is entirely the work of the Devil, possessing no saving graces at all, might lead some to think me a poor choice of correspondent to be dispatched to the Eden Project to cover the recent Sexy Green Car Show. However, unfathomable as the deep and mysterious pool of the Ed’s wisdom is, I suspect he recognised that I would pursue the story with an impartial and even handed prejudice. Quite true.
As unholy as they may be cars are very much here and, I’m afraid to say, short of a miracle of biblical proportions, they are here to stay. Until recently the green movement (or those like me at least) have tended toward a ‘don’t have anything to do with them’ approach but, as strategies go, that isn’t one of the brightest in the anti-Pandora box. So what are we going to do about them?
Salvation at hand
Cue the Eden Project’s Sexy Green Car Show (SGCS), generously supported by CIS, which was held at their centre in Cornwall over the Easter holidays. The prime purpose of the event was to showcase greener cars and automotive technologies that are available, or becoming available, for the average consumer in the street (probably a noisy, dirty and dangerous street too – I wonder why). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the Sexy Green Car Show is the answer to all our automotive ills, of course not, but what I am saying is that the idea and the initiative behind it signals a major step toward one.
There are, of course, greener and more fuel efficient technologies out there, manufacturers producing a variety of non-petrol vehicles and inventors trying to come up with ‘attractive’ alternatives. Just as importantly, there are consumers who actually want to invest in greener transport. However, the consumers have not been able to clearly articulate their desires due to lack of information in the media whilst manufacturers are still directing the vast majority of their resources toward the traditional car, thinking the average motorist doesn’t really want a more fuel efficient vehicle (see the excellent FOE press release).
Breaking open this deadlock of misunderstanding and apathy is the SGCS’ true success, achieved by bringing the issue to the attention of the mass media. SGCS organiser, Augusta Grand (Gus), begins her ‘initial feedback’ report with the words, ‘The SGCS has been a media success.’ Given what she goes on to say this opener is somewhat understated. Coverage received included Radio Five Live breakfast, Radio 4’s Today Programme, ITV West Country and, on the second day of the event, ten inserts over five hours on BBC Breakfast, News 24 and BBC World. Radio One and the Asian Network also covered it as did the Daily Sport, Express, Mail, Times, Sun, Telegraph, Guardian, the Guardian Weekend Money Section, the Independent, Autocar, Auto Express, Autotrader, Whatcar, media from around the world including Russia, Poland, Australia and the USA, not to mention the 145,000 articles that have been published on the world wide web (145,001 now).
The people vs the car industry
Add to this massive PR achievement – and working in the media I can tell you it’s massive, especially given the fact that the event itself was actually smaller in size and content than the average village fete (seriously) – the SGCS received 61,000 visitors in just two weeks!
I spoke with a handful of them asking two simple questions. ‘What do you think of the show?’ and, ‘Would you prefer to drive a greener car?’ The answers boiled down to a resounding ‘Fantastic’ and ‘Yes’. This positive attitude to eco-friendly cars is not solely restricted to the type of people who might visit Eden but is supported in the population at large by the results of a recent poll of 1600 readers of MotorTorque magazine. They were asked, ‘What would be your choice of fuel for your new car?’ Only 15% said petrol.
The future – a sexy green car industry?
Gus and the Eden Team deserve an OBE (Outstanding Benefit to the Environment?) for so skilfully utilising their resources and public profile to stage such a superbly effective situation, one that will surely have repercussions for years to come. In short, the Sexy Green Car Show has been the long awaited wake up call for the car industry and for those who support its tired, antisocial, anti-life, profit frenzied, head-in-the-sand, nihilistic drive to destruction. The days of the gas guzzlers are numbered because soon, very soon, every car show will be sexy and green.
From the media:
‘Sexy Green Car Show seeks to shame ‘dirty’ auto industry’
‘The motor show of the future’
‘A stroke of green genius’
‘We should have been there’
Honda Spokesman quoted in Autocar
From the show:
‘One of my neighbours has an electric car. My mum wants one too.’
‘Shouldn’t the police start driving green cars?’
Mum Foster from London
‘I’ve got friends with Smart cars. I’d definitely buy one.’
Ruth from London
‘I’m still alive you know’
Senior Citizen Evelyn from Bodmin on why she wanted to be
photographed in front of a ‘sexy’ green car show poster. Go girl!
also in issue 4 of pulse news