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Second annual AJAC Eco-Run under way

Ottawa-Montreal fuel-efficiency demo touts remedies for pain at the pumps

Published: June 4, 2013, 9:00 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 3:12 PM

AJAC Eco-Run 2013

Many Canadians continue to be concerned over the high costs to fuel their vehicles, but feel there’s little they can do to find relief.

In fact, there are ways to ease the pain at the pump, both in terms of the vehicles they choose to drive and the manner in which they drive them.

Demonstrating the broad range of choices available and the fuel-economy benefits those choices can provide, both in terms of available vehicles and technologies and driving techniques, is the reason behind the second-annual AJAC (Automobile Journalists Association of Canada) Eco-Run, which is currently under way from Ottawa to Montreal.

A team of 22 AJAC journalists set off on June 4 from Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan) head office in Ottawa, in 22 different vehicles representing an array of the most advanced fuel-efficient and eco-friendly technologies available in today’s automobiles.

The vehicles include everything from compact cars and family sedans to premium full-size SUVs and pickups, with powerplants that include pure electrics, plug-in hybrids, conventional hybrids and a variety of high-efficiency gasoline- and diesel-fuelled engines.

Among the significant secondary technologies employed in several vehicles are:

- energy recovery systems that collect and store energy from braking for future use;

- automatic stop/start systems that shut off the engine whenever a vehicle comes to a stop and restart it when the brake is released to prevent fuel being wasted while idling;

- multi-speed (six, seven, or eight-speed) or continuously-variable transmissions (CVTs) that help keep engines running in their most efficient range over a broader range of speeds and conditions.

- engine features such as direct fuel injection, turbocharging, variable valve actuation and control, combustion optimization and many more.

Not only does this event highlight the latest advances by manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency and reduce the impact on our fragile environment, the journalists will be using driving techniques that any driver can adopt to reduce fuel consumption and fuel costs – regardless of the type or age of vehicle driven.

The AJAC Eco-Run is not a competition – there are no winners or losers. Rather it demonstrates that consumers have multiple choices when looking for a new, fuel-efficient vehicle, regardless of the size, type and price range in which they are shopping.

To help consumers make informed decisions, NRCan, which has again partnered with AJAC for this event, along with CrossChasm, are monitoring the vehicles’ energy use throughout the Eco-Run to demonstrate the fuel efficiencies attainable with the various technologies in a real-world driving situations.

Vehicles taking part in the Eco-Run demonstration include: Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, Chevrolet Volt, Ram 1500 HFE, Ford C-MAX Hybrid, Ford Focus EV, Ford Fusion Energi, Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Infiniti M35 Hybrid, Kia Rio LX Eco, Lexus ES 300h hybrid, Mazda3, Mazda6, Mazda CX-5, Mercedes-Benz B 250, Mercedes-Benz GLK 250 BlueTEC, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Porsche Cayenne Diesel, Smart fortwo electric, Subaru Forester, Toyota Prius v hybrid and Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Hybrid.

We will report on the results following the conclusion of the run.