Fuelishness! -- The FuelClinic.com Blog

A study on perceived usefulness of eco-driving assistant systems in Europe

The ecodriver-project.eu study “A study on perceived usefulness of eco-driving assistant systems in Europe” released this week show there is a great deal of interest in eco-driving, good deal of belief that the benefits are real, but no interest in paying for this kind of technology/service.

While this has been our experience with a consumer-based product (like our FuelClinic), there is considerably more interest from fleets interested in incorporating similar programs into their larger operations, since the cost saving benefits are multiplied well above what your average motorist would see (in addition to the safety and collision reduction side-effects of conservative eco-driving).

So what’s the most effective way to change the behavior of motoring public at little or no cost? How about a piece of duct tape over the fuel gauge?

 



MINI Cooper D Sets New Zealand Fuel Economy Record Of 3.5 l/100km (67.2 MPG)

Source: The Motor Report

2009-mini-cooperd-newzealand-fueleconomyrecord-01

A MINI Cooper D (diesel) – piloted by trained ecodrivers Mark Whittaker and Paul Owen – has just set a new record for fuel efficient driving, by driving 2000 km on just over 72 liters (19 US gallons) of diesel fuel – achieving 3.5 l/100km (just over 67 MPG) average for that trip.

Mark Whittaker said the aim of the exercise was to highlight the potential for cutting New Zealand’s transport related emissions at little or no extra cost.

“In setting this record we are demonstrating that everyone can contribute to reducing emissions by choosing a fuel efficient car and employing simple ecodriving techniques,” Mr Whittaker said.

While Whittaker and Owen had originally targeted an average of 3.0 l/100km, the final 3.5 l/100km figure bested the country’s other top fuel miser – the third generation Toyota Prius – with which the Cooper D shares an official fuel economy of 3.9 l/100km.

The MINI Cooper D sports a fuel efficient and spunky small clean diesel engine and state-of-the-art start/stop technology similar to the new Ford Focus ECOnic we profiled a few days ago.

The Cooper D’s figures are thanks to a host of technological innovations borrowed from parent company BMW (including a start-stop system and a thrifty diesel engine from PSA).

BMW Group New Zealand Managing Director, Mark Gilbert said the fuel economy record proves how far diesel technology has come.

“The MINI has proven that new, small clean diesel engines have an important part to play in improving the fuel economy of the New Zealand vehicle fleet,” said Mr Gilbert.

“And the other clear message from this exercise is that it is not only what you drive, but how you drive, that counts,” he said. (Emphasis added)

That last bit sounds familiar! We certainly agree.

The bad news is that although it was mentioned last February that MINI was considering making the Cooper D available in the US, it has yet to become a reality according to our local MINI dealer. A message to MINI USA about the future availability of the “D” here in the US is awaiting reply – I’ll update you should we hear back. (If you’ve seen a “firm” scheduled availability date, please let me know.)

The future availability of the Ford Focus ECOnic diesel is also yet to be announced. In the past I mentioned my experience driving the SEAT with a small clean diesel a few years ago in Estonia… for now, you’ll still need to cross the pond to have this much fun driving at over 65 miles per gallon.



Fifth Gear Puts Fuel Economy Ratings to the Test



Fuelishness Feed: FastSkinz Fail; The NEW Pumped-Up Prius; 10,561 MPG Econo-Coffin; Tata’s Start-Stop – Sound Familiar?

  • Popular Mechanics Tests FastSkinz Car Wrap: Essentially, in our test, we found no real fuel-economy improvement from the Fastskinz MPG-Plus wrap. And if you trust Ford’s MPG displays, the Fastskinz Flex actually delivered slightly worse fuel economy on our loop. So two identical vehicles, on an identical route at identical speeds, with the same drivers, on the same day, returned nearly the same fuel economy. Where did MPG-Plus go wrong?
     
  • The New Toyota Prius Has 22% More Power: At the same time overall fuel economy has been improved by 10 per cent, new Prius returning 72.4mpg in combined cycle driving. The adoption of a larger, 1.8-litre engine reduces the rpm during high-speed driving to give a 10 per cent gain in long-haul cruising fuel efficiency. And with more torque produced at lower engine speeds, new Prius offers more relaxed cruising performance, too.
     
  • 10,561 Miles Per Gallon: But there are a few drawbacks. You would have to drive lying on your back in a space no bigger than a coffin.
     
  • Tata Motors — Stop-Start Technology good for 6-10% Better Fuel Efficiency: Market sources indicate that now Tata Motors has the technology it can be extended to its other range of products like passenger vehicles and trucks . In a ‘stop-start’ technology, the vehicle’s ECU (electronically controlled unit) is so programmed that after 10 seconds of it recognising that the engine is on but idle, it automatically switches off the engine. 


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