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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Green light for sexy new car show
by Jonathan Morris
BBC News South West

The Axon Eco-M loses its windscreen to lose weight
A new type of car show at the Eden Project in Cornwall is a brave attempt to bring together two things not often seen in the same sentence, sexy and green.

The Sexy Green Car Show, which opened on Friday, claims to have it all, sex and green issues all under one giant biome, or greenhouse.

As well as the tropical vegetation normally seen at Eden the site is also providing a temporary showcase for biofuels and automotive ideas for a more ecologically aware future.

Sexy is certainly here, in the form of rakish sportscars and green is here, in the more dumpy offerings from the major manufacturers.

But sexy and green. Together?

'Bug eater'

Welcome to the Axon Eco-M. If sex comes in the shape of four wheels, a race-tuned engine, a shiny black body and acceleration to knock you back in your seat, then the Axon is it.

Axon Automotive, based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, have stripped down a Caterham 7, even taking off the windscreen.

The result is what is called a "bug eater" in the motoring trade.

Eco One
The Eco One has tyres which are made from potatoes
Recycled carbon fibre has been used in a production car for the first time, and there is a gadget that tells drivers when to change gear for maximum fuel economy.

Combined with what Axon is describing as "eco-driving techniques", the 500 kilo Eco-M should enjoy a 20% improvement in fuel economy over the standard 7, says Axxon.

Perhaps less sexy, but probably more green is the Eco One, an environmentally-friendly racing car from WMG, a provider of innovative solutions to industry based at the University of Warwick.

Not only are its tyres made from potatoes and brake pads from cashew nut shells, it does 0-62mph in four seconds and has a top speed of 125 mph.

Meanwhile, groupBio, a UK-based racing team, has produced a racing car which runs on nuts.

The firm's partner, UK-based D1 Oils, is producing a form of diesel, called biodiesel, from tropical nuts called jatropha.

The D1 will be powered partly by tropical jatropha nuts
And it says that jatropha really is a green alternative to fossil-fuel and to biodiesel produced from palm oil.

Graham Prince, of UK-based D1 Oils, said: "We have always known there are many potential raw materials for biodiesel.

"A lot of those used are soya or rape seed, but we thought it is wrong to make fuel from something that is used to feed people."

The company has planted about 145,000 hectares of jatropha trees in Zambia, Swaziland, India and Indonesia and aims to make it available from next year as part of a blended bio-fuel.

The 200mph racing car, based on a 2004 Lola, runs on diesel blended with up to 50% per cent jatropha biodiesel.

The Eco-M, groupBio and WMG are lining up with the giants from the motoring world at the show, including Saab, Ford, Vauxhall, Toyota, VW and Mercedes.

The Sexy Green Car Show runs to 15 April.

Unusual cars on show at the Eden Project

Green racing car has potato tyres
25 Mar 07 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Eco car travels into record book
12 Sep 05 |  Somerset
Green fuels set for breakthrough
13 Jul 04 |  Business


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