A showcase of all things EV at the 2021 Festival of speed

Despite the fact Boris Johnson delayed the lifting Covid restrictions planned for June 21 by four weeks, the legendary Goodwood Festival of Speed got the signal to open its gates to event-goers for the first time since 2019.

Running as a pilot event as part of the Events Research Programme, the Festival of Speed was able to welcome back fans to witness the thrills, stars, cars and interactive experiences that it is renowned for. Staged every summer since 1993, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is the world’s largest automotive garden party; hosted by the Earl and Countess of March and nestled at the foot of the South Downs it’s on the bucket list of every petrolhead. But what about those who love EVs? Well there was plenty to get excited about for 2021.

Electric Avenue

For starters there was the Electric Avenue – The Road To 2030, a new exhibition space located at the heart of the event and showcasing the latest EVs from almost every car manufacturer you can think of. Immersing visitors in a futuristic soundtrack and a series of towering colourful projections to encourage a lasting legacy of positive change, visitors were able to inspect the latest electric city cars, saloons, SUVs, sports cars and hypercars and talk to industry experts to answer questions on everything from finance and running costs, to the realities of range and reliability, as well as charging times and locations.

We had driven most of the cars on display but there were a few we hadn’t seen before – here are our top eight highlights:

Lotus Evija

Lotus was the ‘Featured Marque’ at this year’s event and it was the first time its all-electric hypercar made its Festival debut. The Evija, which will go into production later this year, is the world’s most powerful car. It has an output of more than 1972hp from its all-electric, all-wheel drive powertrain, accelerating from 124mph to 186mph in just three seconds – half the time it takes a Bugatti Chiron. It could also be seen in action taking part in the Hill Climb twice a day.

As the theme of this year’s event, it was automatically chosen as the art installation which is always created directly in front of Goodwood House. Inspired by Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s philosophy of ‘simplify then add lightness’, its shape evokes the ‘rooster tail’ airflow analysis of the Lotus Evija, and features the longest cantilever of its kind anywhere in the world. At first glance it looked a little disappointing until you realised you can download an app and watch Lotus’ new Emira supercar (which also made its debut) zoom round the structure in augmented reality.

Kia EV6 front Goodwood Festival of Speed
 Kia EV6 rear Goodwood Festival of Speed

Kia EV6 GT

Not only did the 2021 event mark the first ever time Kia has appeared at the Festival of Speed it was also the first UK public outing for the EV6. This important car heralds the start of Kia’s ‘Plan S’ strategy, which includes the introduction of a range of 11 electric cars by 2026, is available in four different trim levels, and benefits from a long-range 77.4kWh battery pack that powers it to up to 316 miles range from a single charge. Accompanied by its 400/800V electric architecture, the EV6 is designed to charge from 10-to-80 per cent in as little as 18 minutes, or to add 60 miles of range in less than five minutes when plugged into a 350kW ultra-fast charger.

Based on revolutionary E-GMP (Electric-Global Modular Platform) technology, the EV6 on display was an entry-level UK specification rear-wheel drive model, powered by a 226bhp electric motor on the rear axle, and attracted a lot of attention – with many people referring to its looks as being futuristic but also remarking on the how spacious the cabin was.

<Pics> Kia EV6 front Goodwood Festival of Speed
 Kia EV6 rear Goodwood Festival of Speed

Rimac C_Two

After making its official debut earlier in 2021, the Rimac C_Two (now named Nevera – a name given by the locals to a quick, unexpected and mighty Mediterranean storm) could be seen up close and personal at Goodwood and also took on the event's famed hillclimb as part of the supercar run.

The concept's powertrain has been largely carried over into production, featuring a high-output motor at each corner, combining to give 1888bhp and 1741lb ft of torque enabling a claimed 0 to 62mph time of just 1.85 seconds while obliterating a quarter mile in just 8.6 seconds. With a 120kWh bespoke battery, it has a range of 340 miles.

Rimac C_Two front Goodwood Festival of Speed
 Rimac C_Two rear Goodwood Festival of Speed

Pininfarina Battista

At the forefront of the Electric Avenue was the Pininfarina Battista making its debut at the Goodwood event following a successful prototype testing programme. It channels more than 90 years of iconic Italian heritage and is the most powerful Italian sports car ever made, combining beautiful design with luxurious sustainable materials and a pure-electric powertrain.

The first of the planned 150 cars are being delivered to customers later this year. Faster than a current Formula 1 race car with a sub-two second 0-62mph sprint, thanks to having 1900hp and 1696lb-ft  torque on tap, it’s not just about outrageous performance, its 120 kWh battery delivers a claimed range of over 310 miles on a single charge.

Hyundai IONIQ 5

It was great to see the trailblazing Hyundai IONIQ 5, the first new model in the EV-exclusive IONIQ brand making its dynamic show debut. With its retro-futuristic styling designed to optimise aerodynamics and a ‘Living Space’ type cabin, never before seen in this segment, it attracted a lot of attention. It was easy to see why the special launch edition was oversubscribed by three times just 24 hours after reservations first opened.

The IONIQ 5 is able to charge from 10%-80% in just 18 minutes, accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds and with the 2WD version can travel up to 298 miles on a single charge. It’s available to order now and priced from £36,995.

Hyundai IONIQ 5 front Goodwood Festival of Speed
 Hyundai IONIQ 5 rear Goodwood Festival of Speed


The Festival also provided the stage for two exciting UK premieres for the BMW – the iX and the i4 (more on that in a bit). Representing the pinnacle of BMW Group’s electrification strategy, the company’s flagship electric model will launch in November 2021 and ushers in an exciting new chapter for the brand.

The first model to feature the new generation BMW iDrive, powered by Operating System 8, the iX xDrive50 has up to 380 miles and will cover 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds. 195kW rapid charging provides a 10 to 80 per cent top-up in 35 minutes, or you can add 90 miles of range in just 10 minutes. It’s fair to say that controversial beaver tooth grille and eye-watering price of 391,905 got people talking!

e.Go Life60

Where the Rimac got teenage boys drooling, the e.Go had them in fits of laughter, which is ironic given electric city cars like this are aimed at young urban drivers!  Also, despite appearing to be experiencing a number of financial challenges in January last year, the Aachen-based start-up has obviously overcome those to be able to showcase its car at Goodwood (and presumably means it’s available to order in the UK?).

With a maximum speed of 122km/h it will reach 50km in 4.3 seconds, whiles its 21.5 battery enables a range of 125km. It takes 9.6 hours to charge to 95 per cent via a domestic plug or 5.7 hours from a type 2 connector. As one of cheapest small EVs on the market we’re keen to get a test drive and bring you more details – watch this space.

Arrival H3L3

While it was outside of the Electric Avenue and therefore not listed as part of the display in the official programme (perhaps because it’s a commercial vehicle?) it is worthy of mention. Designed from the ground up, the Arrival Van can be tailored precisely to individual routes and specific uses - with different heights, lengths and battery capacities available. The van on display was the H3L3 (Cargo Van) with a loading length of 3450mm, cargo volume of 14 cubic metres, payload of 1975kg, battery capacity of 67-133kWh and a range of up to 211 miles.

Powered by a 163hp electric motor, the Arrival electric van is front-wheel drive (FWD), with a top speed of 75mph. It’s set to begin public trials in summer 2021 ahead of going into full production in 2022. A Passenger Van is said to be in the pipeline (H2L3) and again we’ll be on their case to bring you the latest.

Arrival H3L3 front Goodwood Festival of Speed
 Arrival H3L3 rear Goodwood Festival of Speed

Other noteworthy attractions

The Future Lab

Following its first appearance at the event in 2019, the Future Lab returned for 2021 and was designed to give the public a glimpse into the future of transport, but also showcased a mix of ground-breaking technologies, some of which you could see in action on a dynamic test track in the attached Concept Paddock.  Marketed as ‘a step into tomorrow’, you could see everything from submarines to a robot dog, flying cars to the latest Mars Rover – and many of them were fully interactive.

Experimental Polestar 2

Polestar revealed an experimental Polestar 2 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which could be seen tackling the hill by Chief Chassis Engineer Joakim Rydholm throughout event. Inspired by CEO Thomas Ingenlath’s desire to push the boundaries of the electric performance fastback’s design and performance potential, it was given a makeover.

Power was increased to 476 hp, and the car was given a stronger stance, with a wider track (+10 mm on each side) and lower ride height (-30 mm). Widened wheel arches were also fitted required to house the 9x21 inch wheels and six-piston Akebono front brakes from Polestar 1. The 275/30R21 Pirelli PZero Rosso performance tyres are also carried over from Polestar 1. Updated front and rear bumpers and a Snow Matte finish with a Magnesium Matte racing stripe, together with colour-coded accents and a combination of matt and gloss black detailing completed the overall look.

The springs were stiffened by 80 per cent at the front and 40 per cent at the rear compared to the original performance units, and the adjustable Öhlins DFV dampers were upgraded to Öhlins three-way performance dampers which are approximately 30 per cent stiffer than the road and track originals. To further increase rigidity, a carbon fibre front suspension strut bar was borrowed from a Polestar Engineered Volvo S60, complemented by a custom-fabricated rear strut bar

Polestar 2 Experimental front Goodwood Festival of Speed
 Polestar 2 Experimental rear Goodwood Festival of Speed

Ford Puma Rally1 WRC Prototype

The M-Sport Ford World Rally Team revealed for the first time a prototype of the new Puma Rally1 rally car that will help usher in an exciting new era of electrified competition in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) from 2022.

The M‑Sport Ford Puma Rally1 features a next-generation hybrid powertrain that combines the performance of Ford’s turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with a 100 kW electric motor and 3.9 kWh battery. Like the plug-in hybrid technology available to Ford customers on vehicles including the Kuga Plug-In Hybrid, the battery pack can also be recharged using an external power source at service points between stages, with a recharge taking approximately 25 minutes. In addition, FIA WRC Rally1 competitors will use a fossil-free fuel from the 2022 season, blending synthetic and bio-degradable elements to produce a fuel that is 100 per cent sustainable.

BMW Electric Boulevard

Another exciting UK premiere for the Munich brand, was the i4, which could be seen at the Stable Yard, once again dedicated to BMW and themed as an ‘Electric Boulevard’. This striking gran coupé offers a range of up to 367 miles and is the first all-electric premium car from BMW aimed at the midsize segment.

Priced from £51,905, the headline model is the M50 for 12 grand more, and is billed by the car manufacturer as “the first purely electric performance car from BMW M”.  With two electric motors on the front and rear axles delivering 544hp and 586lb-ft of torque it will obliterate the 0-62mph sprint in just 3.9 seconds. BMW also claim production of the vehicle and its battery is achieved using green energy.

BMW i4 M50 front Goodwood Festival of Speed
 BMW i4 M50 rear Goodwood Festival of Speed

Discover EV’s take

As the world’s greatest celebration of motorsport, automotive culture and future technology, it’s refreshing to see that Goodwood recognises its event has a significant role to play in supporting consumers on the road to 2030. As a new exhibition space Electric Avenue was an impressive showcase of what an electric future could look like, and perfectly curated to empower and educate visitors when it comes to embarking on an electric future.

As more and more events like this champion electric vehicles the quicker UK motorists will get on board with this relatively new but inevitable future of mobility. If you want to see some of the 600 cars and motorcycles spanning the history of motoring and motorsport on show as well legendary figures from the automotive world then tune into ITV4 next week (14 July at 21:00, 15 July at 21:00 and 16 July at 21:00). We can’t wait to see what 2022 brings.

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