Why the London Motorshow was a missed opportunity for electric cars

With the back drop of increasing air pollution in the streets of London, the local motorshow, which returned to Battersea Park for the second year, should be an opportunity to show case ultra low emissions vehicles, including electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

Nissan LEAF Black Edition
Nissan LEAF Black Edition

This opportunity would perfectly align with Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to clean the air with a low emissions zone and price out older diesel cars from the capital. Yet on my visit to the show, I was left feeling distinctly underwhelmed.

What should be a one-stop-shop for anyone looking for a new car, was actually a mishmash of family cars with high priced super cars designed to draw in the crowds.

The London Motorshow is not backed by manufacturers and is in fact dealership groups representing them.  What is billed as a ‘great family day out’ certainly did deliver, especially with free entry for children.  I understand the need to draw in an audience with some head line grabbing cars, such as the Liberty Walk modified McLaren, yet this healthy size of audience brings the perfect opportunity to promote the future of motoring.

Record crowds at The London Motor Show
Record crowds attended The London Motor Show

Space is at a premium at the Battersea Evolution site, which is why a limited eclectic range of cars were on show.  But this cannot fully explain why ultra low emissions vehicles are not in abundance and an opportunity to sell them was being so easily missed.

The show wasn’t completely without electric and plug-in cars.  Visitors were able to check out the BMW i3, i8, a Tesla Model X along with the Nissan‘s LEAF and a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.  As the show is staffed by dealers, the question is do they know how to sell electric cars, or do they need to parachute experts in from the industry backed GoUltraLow campaign?

The Morgan EV3 1909 Selfridges Edition shone

On display at the Morgan London stand was the stunning EV3 1909 Selfridges Edition, where the level of enthusiasm for the 3 wheeled electric car was a breath of fresh air.  This limited edition model is restricted to just 19 units, all in black and gold, with a the ‘standard’ version arriving later this year expected to be priced at around £50,000.

As expected the white Tesla Model X on show was creating much interest from all ages as it sat in it with it’s falcon doors aloft. The sales team from Tesla were expertly fielding all the usual questions about electric cars, such as range and charging options that those who were absent from the show could have easily answered and offered a far cheaper alternative to any Tesla.


The Founder of driveEV. A driving and new technology fan enjoying learning all about the future of motoring. I drive a BMW i3.

2 thoughts on “Why the London Motorshow was a missed opportunity for electric cars

  1. I went to the show on Saturday and was also disappointed by it.
    The Tesla model X was crowded and the staff very helpful & knowledgeable, but why no model S?
    The BMW i3/i8 had queues to look at them, but sales staff hovered around the normal BMWs which had little attention. Nobody looked at the Alpiner for a long time.
    At Nissan, there was interest in the Micra. Is this what the new Leaf will look like? Sales staff knew nothing, not even about the Leaf that was there.
    Hyundai brought a hybrid not their EV so nobody was there looking.
    I asked LTI why they had bought an old taxi not their new one, they did not know but gave me a card about the new electric one.
    OK, there was interest around the show cars like the Aston Martins / Shelbys but most ICEs had few people near them. This is London & EVs are what people wanted to see, not vintage technology!
    I looked at the Range Rovers. Wow, they are so dated compared with the Model X. Come on JLR, things have moved on!
    And why no I-Pace?
    Motor Show? No! It was a display of motoring heritage, not cars people in London want or need.

    1. Hi David,
      Thank you for your interest in the all new electric taxi.
      As published by independent media and on our own media channels, our participation at the motor show was to celebrate the last of the TX4 diesel taxis before we launch the new electric taxi.
      For all the latest news and information on the new vehicle please register your details on our website http://www.theelectrictaxi.co.uk, this will be the place we first notify anything new about the vehicle, alternatively you can email theelectrictaxi@london-taxis.co.uk with any questions you may have.
      Best regards, LTC

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