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Eco-Run – day one is done

Brighton-to-London Eco-Run demonstrates value of fuel-efficient technologies and driving style

Published: May 8, 2012, 4:00 PM

Members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) today completed the first leg of their three-day Brighton-to-London Eco Run across southern Ontario.

Following a morning press-conference in Brighton, local mayor Mark Walas flagged off 23 vehicles, encompassing a broad range of fuel-efficient technologies, at one-minute intervals.

Among various dignitaries, representatives of event partners, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) and Schneider Electric were on hand for the start and are accompanying the entourage on its tour.

While one of the events objectives is to demonstrate the broad range of fuel-efficient and fuel-alternative technologies available to consumers, another is to show that driving style is also hugely important.

Before the start, NRCan representative Yves Madore challenged the drivers to adapt their driving styles to drive for fuel efficiency and try to equal or better the published NRCan Energuide fuel consumption ratings for the various vehicles. Contrary to common belief, it is possible he said; and he was proven right.

At the end of the day, NRCan reported that, in the 14 vehicles for which immediate analysis was possible, 70% met or surpassed the EnerGuide ratings on the first leg, from Brighton to Oshawa – all on streets and highways with speed limits ranging from 50- to 80-km/h.

On the second leg, from Oshawa to Scarborough, primarily on Highway 401, with a 100 km/h speed limit, 80% met or surpassed the EnerGuide ratings.

Madore challenged the AJAC drivers to do even better tomorrow.

During today's drive through Northumberland County, the tour stopped to meet the public at the local CAA office in Cobourg before proceeding on to Oshawa (following a brief top-up of electric charge for the electric vehicles (EVs) in the group).

In Oshawa, it visited the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and its Automotive Centre of Excellence, which features world-class research and development facilities that are available for use by industry.

Those facilities include a spectacular climatic wind tunnel capable of blowing up a storm from -40 to +60 degrees C – the subject of a separate article.

After a longer recharge for the EVs there the tour continued to Centennial Colleges School of Transportation in Scarborough, where the vehicles are spending the night.

Although the 160-km total distance for the day and the type of driving were outside the optimum parameters for EV operation, with their charge top-ups en route, all the electrics completed the journey with energy to spare.

At Centennial, the journalists toured various laboratories dedicated to training technicians to maintain and repair the various vehicles of today and tomorrow, including the advanced technologies on those taking part in the tour. Another story unto itself.

Tomorrow takes the tour to the Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto and the MacAuto facilities of McMaster University in Hamilton.