Citroën Survolt hands on at Goodwood Festival of Speed

"Gentleman, start your engines," said the race marshal at the bottom of Goodwood hill - the 1.16-mile long track which has been raced on by anyone who's anyone in the world of motorsport.

Trouble is, the car the Pocket-lint - the Citroën Survolt -  was in charge of doesn't technically have an engine. It has a pair of electric motors.

But, just because the Survolt is an electric vehicle, don't go thinking that is a glorified golf cart. Far from it. It packs a combined power output of 300 BHP (223.71 kW), with a top speed of just over 160MPH, and it can accelerate from 0–60MPH in under 5 seconds.

And it looks like the Batmobile too - which was probably our favourite aspect.

So starting our engines was more a case of switching on the power. As it's just a concept car, there's no bells and whistles on the inside - just a racing steering-wheel, two pedals (that have to be operated with dual feet due to the compact space), a touchscreen showing all the technical data and lots of silver switches.

In fact, the switches reminded us of an cheap science fiction movie's flight control deck. But there's nothing cheap about the Survolt. About two minutes before the start of the race we were told by the Citroën engineers, without even a trace of humour, not to crash it as it was a "one-off", worth "£1.6 million just in parts", and was "five years hard work for a lot of people".

No pressure then.

As it turns out, they needn't have worried. Pocket-lint attacked the course with driving skills akin to Colin McRae's glory days. At least in our mind we did. 

We topped 100MPH on the straight - without gears and a lack of moving engine parts the torque on the Survolt is incredible and it's easy (and scary) to hit great speeds very quickly. 

Our lap time though, of just over a minute, was a long way off of F1 driver Nick Heinfeld's course record of 41.6 seconds.

But did Nick do it in a car with no gears, one that makes barely a whisper of sound (save for the high pitch scream of the brakes) and without emitting nasty fumes that make Mother Nature cry? Not a chance.