The AJAC Brighton-to-London Eco-Run concluded today with the arrival of the entourage at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.
The three-day tour, which was intended to be a mobile demonstration of fuel-efficient technologies, began in Brighton, Ontario on Tuesday morning, making stops in Cobourg, Oshawa, Scarborough, Toronto and Oakville before spending last night at McMaster University in Hamilton.
Fourteen manufacturers and 23 vehicles, with a broad array of fuel-efficient and fuel-alternative technologies, took part and approximately 30 AJAC-member journalists drove the cars at different stages during the event.
Today's activities began with a press conference at McMaster University in Hamilton, where Dr. Ali Emadi, director of MacAUTO described the University's extensive automotive-oriented programs and activities.
MacAUTO is a multi-disciplinary education, research and development initiative focused on the automotive industry and the car of the future. More than 100 researchers in engineering, science, business and other faculties are involved in initiatives valued at over $150 million in automotive-related programs and infrastructure, Emadi explained.
With the completion of the new McMaster Automotive Resource Centre (MARC) early in 2013, MacAUTO will have the largest automotive R&D facility in academia within North America.
From Hamilton the tour traveled to Woodstock, where Mayor Pat Sobeski held a press conference to welcome the group. The city also closed a street and set up a temporary electrical service to enable recharging of the six electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids that were part of the program.
The tour ended at Fanshawe College's Centre for Applied Transportation Technologies in London with another warm welcome by faculty, students local media and dignitaries. The students in particular seemed anxious to learn about the cars and their various technologies.
Among others, local MP Ed Holder spoke at the wrap-up press conference on behalf of the federal government which was a key supporter of the event, through Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Other event partners included the Canadian Automobile Associtin (CAA) and Schneider Electric.
At the beginning of the Eco-Run, Yves Madore of NRCan challenged AJAC's journalist drivers to adopt fuel-efficient driving techniques and try to equal or surpass the fuel-consumption rating figures for the individual vehicles.
Perhaps surprising even themselves, they did so. Madore reported that on some driving stages as many as 80 percent of the vehicle/driver combinations achieved that goal. And every vehicle did so on at least one or more stages.
The London-to-Brighton Eco-Run was a new venture for AJAC, taking the message of fuel-efficiency to the community level and by most measures it seems to have been a huge success. It certainly engaged the communities visited.
Which suggests that the organization might do well to pursue similar ventures in other parts of the country in the future.