A fleet comprised of some of the most fuel-efficient and eco-friendly vehicles on the planet is being assembled in Vancouver in preparation for next week’s fourth annual AJAC EcoRun.
Thirteen manufacturers have entered a total of 20 vehicles in this year’s event, ranging from sub-compacts, compacts, family sedans and sport utility vehicles to sport coupes and pickups. They include pure electric, plug-in and conventional hybrid, diesel fuelled, high-efficiency gasoline and, new to the consumer market, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The EcoRun is not a competition, but rather a demonstration of the most eco-friendly and fuel-efficient vehicles automakers are offering to consumers. A team of automotive journalists comprisingl members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) will drive these vehicles over a route comprised of typical roads and terrain drivers face routinely.
During the two-day EcoRun, each vehicle and driver will be constantly monitored in real time, with the data accumulated by the Waterloo, ON.-based firm, Fleetcarma. At the conclusion of the event, the results will be posted on the AJAC website (www.ajac.ca) as a resource for consumers.
Anyone contemplating the purchase of a new vehicle will be able to compare the fuel efficiency of the product they’re considering with that of the EcoRun vehicles and make an informed decision based on their individual needs and priorities.
The 2015 AJAC EcoRun will start March 25 from the Vancouver International Auto Show in downtown Vancouver and wind its way to Horseshoe Bay, where the fleet will board a BC Ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
The drive will head south on the Trans Canada Highway with a recharging stop in Duncan, then tackle the mountainous Malahate area, followed by a side trip to Western Speedway in Langford, where dynamic evaluations of the vehicles will be conducted, before making an overnight stop in Victoria.
The second day of the drive will start with a media conference in downtown Victoria on the steps of the B.C. Parliamentary Buildings, where the AJAC group will be guests of the government for the morning question period.
The tour will head south with a lunch stop in Sidney before boarding the ferry in Swartz Bay and the return to the mainland. A stop is scheduled in the Richmond area, where the drivers will be able to participate in a walking tour of the historic Stevenson Village before driving the final leg back to downtown Vancouver.
This year’s event marks the second consecutive visit to British Columbia – the 2014 EcoRun followed the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. Organizers opted for the return visit because the province offers excellent infrastructure to support EVs and plug-in hybrids.
In fact, the 2014 event marked the first time EcoRun had been able to use existing recharging facilities rather than haul along a portable generator. That infrastructure – and the way BC residents have enthusiastically embraced “green” technologies – played a key role in AJAC’s choice of venue for this year’s event.
Here is a list of vehicles participating in this year’s AJAC EcoRun:
> 2015 BMW X3 xDrive 28d, 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo diesel, 8-speed automatic
> 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel
> 2015 Ford Focus 1.0-litre
> 2015 Ford F-150 2.7-litre
> 2015 Ford Mustang EcoBoost
> 2015 Chevrolet Volt
> 2015 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel
> 2015 Chevrolet Colorado (manual)
> 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid
> 2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell Vehicle
> 2015 Soul EV
> 2015 Mazda3 2.5-litre M/T
> 2016 Mazda6 GT i-Eloop
> 2016 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD
> 2015 Nissan Leaf SL
> 2015 Nissan Micra S (manual)
> 2015 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid
> 2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid
> 2015 Subaru Legacy (AJAC Canadian Car of the Year, AJAC Green Car Award finalist)
> 2015 Golf TDI Clean Diesel