Electric Cars in Monte Carlo: Racing, Luxury and Exclusivity

By · March 28, 2012

The world's best electric cars in front of the Prince's Palace of Monaco

The world's best electric cars in front of the Prince's Palace of Monaco

If you're an EV fan in Europe, there's one show you should not miss: Ever Monaco. Each year on the first weekend of spring, there's an exhibition with all EVs and hybrids on the market, conferences on electric mobility, a rally for green cars—which was won by an Opel Ampera (a sister's model to the Chevrolet Volt for Europe—and there was something new this year: the Monaco Eco Luxury Tour. It was a parade of all the best electric cars the world has ever seen, led by Prince Albert II of Monaco. The Prince drove a Nissan LEAF Nismo RC. He was followed (from right to left on the picture above) by the Venturi Volage, the Exagon Furtive e-GT, the Protoscar Lampo 3, a Fisker Karma, a Porsche Panamera hybrid (the only car here without a plug), and the Formulec EF01, a one-seater racecar with a Venturi electric motor. Obviously, they know how to have fun in Monte Carlo. The cars paraded silently all around Monaco, but with the city-state being so small, that didn't last long. Yet it was a nice demonstration of support for EVs. Monaco has been supporting electric mobility for more than a decade, and the Monaco Eco Luxury Tour demonstrated to everybody that Monaco supports EVs, right up to the Prince.

The Oscar eO plug-in hybrid 4WD racecar

The Oscar eO plug-in hybrid 4WD racecar

On the show floor, the biggest surprise was the Latvian Oscar eO race car. This was the car that competed in the Dakar rally last January. The mere sight of this beast was a thrill. A few years ago, there were only very small vehicles at the Monaco EV show. Light vehicles, many low-speed, then sports cars came, and now here's the first large SUV. Its builders are anything but amateurs. They explained that on the first test-drive on soft sand, the 50 kWH battery was dead after 20 minutes. A serious problem considering the Dakar rally is more than 5,000 miles long. So they've added a 6-speed gearbox to lower RPM, and a gasoline V6 hooked to a generator to recharge the battery continuously. That did the trick.

The Oscar eO was assuredly the most fuel-efficient car in the Dakar. Say hello to the first green two and a half ton SUV! That Latvian team was there to promote its engineering services. They may also start an EV conversion business. They have already converted a Mini Cooper and a Volkswagen van to an electric drive, but it could be smart move to stick to 4WD vehicles. They're about the only people in the world with proven and successful experience in electric off-road racing.

The Citroen Berlingo powered by Venturi that will drive in Africa

The Citroen Berlingo powered by Venturi that will drive in Africa

Racing has always been important in Monte Carlo, and it will remain that way with some Estonians who are organizing an EV rally between Tallinn and Monaco next June. Information for those interested is available here, and there was another announcing from local brand Venturi: Mission Africa. The plan is to drive an electric car from Mount Kilimanjaro down to the Okavango Delta, about 3,000 miles away. Without any kind of organization nor back-up car to drive along. Driver and co-driver will be all by themselves, with the need to find a plug each night. With a 70.5 kWh battery pack, the Citroën Berlingo converted to electric propulsion by Venturi charges quickly with a 380V charging station. But there might not be many of those stations in Tanzania.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. What Is An Electric Car?
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  3. Electric Cars Pros and Cons
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  4. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
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  5. Federal and Local Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  6. Eight Factors Determining Total Cost of Ownership of an Electric Car
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  7. Quick Guide to Buying Your First Home EV Charger
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  8. Electric Car Utility Rate Plans: Top Five Rules
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  9. The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
    If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).
  10. Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
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