A group of Canadian journalists gathered to drive 23 fuel efficient vehicles from Brighton to London, Ontario, Canada to highlight the potential of green automotive technology. The vehicles ranged from the merely fuel efficient (Fiat 500, Mazda 3 SKYACTIV) through diesel (Volkswagen Passat TDI Clean Diesel), Hybrid (Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Porsche Panamera Hybrid), to plug-in hybrid (Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid) and pure battery electric (Nissan LEAF, Focus Electric, Mitsubishi i). The idea was to show that there are many alternatives for those that are concerned about rising fuel prices. Dubbed the Eco-Run, the event was staged to promote fuel efficiency.
Brighton to Ontario is roughly 200 miles and this distance was covered in three days. Based on the parameters, it is clear that the focus was not on time efficiency but on fuel efficiency. More importantly, it was on creating awareness in the community that there are many different ways to achieve fuel efficiency – an idea that we have tried to proclaim for some time here at Living LEAF. More about that in a couple of days.
Along the way visits were made at key destinations, including McMaster University, home of MacAuto – the McMaster Institute for Automotive Research and Technology. MacAuto has been focused on environmentally sound automotive research in North America and is currently involved in programs valued at over $100 million – not an insignificant sum.
Journalists behind the wheel were encouraged to drive as efficiently as possible which optimized their final results. The LEAF covered just over 230 miles at an average speed of just 28 miles per hour, much of which included urban driving conditions. The conservative speed resulted in an energy cost of only $5.00 to cover the 231 miles. It doesn’t matter what you compare that to, the fuel cost to cover this distance is dramatically less than conventionally powered vehicles – fuel efficient or not.
As community awareness improves through vehicle exposure, media events and our own discussions with acquaintances, business associates, friends and family, electric vehicles will gain additional traction in the years to come.