Tempelhof – may it race in peace! These days, on the former runways of Berlin’s old airport, Tempelhof, electric cars take off at full speed. The disused airfield has been in use as a huge and empty public park since 2010. On a normal weekend, the vast expanses of tarmac draw inline skaters, wind surfers and children falling off their bicycles while their extended family is having a barbecue on the even vaster lawns.
Today, however, half of the Tempelhof air field is fenced off for test drives. It is a mixed bunch of vehicles heading over the runway: family cars, convertibles, delivery trucks, Thai-style open minibuses… What most of them have in common is that they don’t make more noise than a light buzz. All these cars – more than 100 different types, according to the organizers – are electric or hybrid cars. The organisers of the Challenge Bibendum Tempelhof electric car event hav installed dozens of electric outlets outside the old passenger terminal to recharge the cars.
Electric cars in the former Tempelhof Airport
A few rounds wit an electric car on the Tempelhof air field, and the battery needs to be refilled. The exhibitors don’t like to linger on this fact, but of course the clean new technology has its drawbacks. And obviously, even the “zero litre” or “zero emission” cars do need energy. Depending on the country, the electric energy mix might even have a worse ecological impact than burning gasoline. But in most cases, the electric cars with their higher energy efficiency are indeed much more ecological.
Nearby, the manufacturers also show off their electrically supported bicycles and electric mopeds. Visitors in dark suits try out motor-assisted folding bikes, recumbent bikes and Segways. Best choice for the environment!, the company flyers rejoice. They don’t compare it with electric tramways, though.
After the fair, we go back to riding plain bicycles – with pure vegetable energy…