* London Motorexpo runs until Sunday
* 400,000 visitors expected
* Tesla Motors, Lotus, Jaguar and BMW among exhibitors
By Clare Hutchison
LONDON, June 13 Instead of a Ferrari Testarossa,
the next "Wolf of Wall Street" could be driving a zero-emissions
car or even an electric bike if London's Motorexpo show is
anything to go by.
Tesla Motors and Dutch electric bike maker B4 Bikes
have been among the busiest stands at the nineteenth London
Motorexpo this week - a display of sports cars and premium
executive vehicles in the Canary Wharf financial district, which
runs until Sunday.
At Tesla, encouraged by the sunshine and warm temperatures,
a steady stream of workers from the nearby offices, which
include the headquarters of HSBC and Barclays,
closely examined its cars stationed in the shadows of the
landmark One Canada Square tower.
The timing was perfect for the California-based company,
which launched its first right-hand drive vehicles last
Saturday. Elon Musk, the company's chief executive and the
co-founder of online payment system PayPal, came to Britain to
deliver the first five vehicles himself.
Tesla's fully electric Model S, which starts at 50,280
pounds ($84,400), reaches 60 miles per hour in just over 4
seconds. It can travel 312 miles before needing to be recharged.
Laura Hardy, Tesla's communications manager for Britain and
Ireland, said the company had been inundated with requests for
test drives and had to bring in an extra car to meet demand. A
number of sales were made at the event, Hardy said.
By Friday, B4 Bikes had sold eight of its e-cruizers -
steel-framed bikes powered by a battery engineered in
collaboration with the European Space Agency. Designed to look
like a Harley Davidson motorcycle, an e-cruizer retails from
"I would seriously consider buying (one)," said Derek Deans,
40, who works at HSBC. "If I could afford to buy a 1905 Harley
Davidson I would, but I like the look of (the bike) and it's
Getting customers to get out their cheque books was a rare
feat at a time when bankers are facing job cuts and bonuses
remain subdued by the financial crisis.
"It's a good opportunity to get people interested in new
products or to introduce a brand. It's not a huge money making
event," said Graeme Carver, the chief executive of Motorexpo,
adding that sales were difficult to track given the time
customers take to make decisions.
The free-to-visit show also had more sports cars than ever
before, with stands showcasing a bright orange McLaren 650s, an
Aston Martin Vanquish and Bentley's new Continental GTV8.
"They (sports car manufacturers) have made an assessment of
where they think the market is," Carver said. "(Economic
uncertainty) doesn't seem to be hurting us too badly."
Toronto will host its own four-day Motorexpo from June 23,
while New York's will take place Sept. 7-12.
($1 = 0.5956 British Pounds)
(Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)