Pioneering hybrid technology that powered car from London to Paris is star of Woolpit Green Fair
A woman from Woolpit who drove from Paris to London in a pioneering hybrid car more than 30 years ago exhibited the technology at the village’s Green Fair on Saturday.
Jean Aldous, of Wrights Way, founded the Electric Vehicle Development Group in 1975 to prove hybrid vehicles could be used by everyone.
In 1984, she travelled with her team from London to Paris in a Ford Escort fitted with a petrol lawn mower engine alongside a battery which recharges when you brake.
The innovative technology meant the petrol engine runs at the optimal speed and load, increasing efficiency and reducing emissions.
Following the successful journey Ford developed the technology for a year, eventually installing a version of the engine into a transit van, which Jean brought to the Fair at the weekend.
She said: “At the time other battery vehicles took three days for the journey because they need to recharge, ours did it in something more like three hours.
This technology is just about to take off
“We did stop off for an hour for late lunch and a cup of tea though.”
Jean now works with developing fuel cell technology, which generates power and heat from waste products, as a director of the Cygnus Atratus Group.
The company are now in the final stages of testing for a revolutionary vehicle powered by waste.
Jean said the technology could even be used in people’s homes in the future.
“The idea of the technology is that businesses, communities and even individuals will eventually be able to generate their own energy as well as heat too.
“All these things are going ahead very rapidly.
“Even the EPA in America has said this is the way forward for stationary fuel cells.
“This technology is just about to take off.”
Jean also volunteers as publicity manager for Green Motorsport, a company that engineers battery electric powered vehicles.
In June, the company took part in the fifth World Advanced Vehicle Expedition (WAVE).
Starting in Plauen near Berlin, 90 teams drove across Europe powered by energy sourced form the wind or sun.
Green Motorsport entered a buggy called the Tapir which used a powerful lithium iron battery. The journey culminated in a harsh climb up to the peak of Europe’s highest point in the Italian Alps.
However, Jean said it was often difficult to get funding with the backdrop of the powerful oil lobby.
“We have faced tremendous opposition from the catalytic converter lobbies, she said. “It is not very popular with the oil industries either.”