Day 2 of 2014 AJAC Eco-Run

Wednesday, May 7 — The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) launched its third annual Eco-Run yesterday outdoors at the Jack Poole Plaza, beside the Vancouver Convention Centre. Thankfully it didn’t rain. Then the eighteen available vehicles, from subcompacts to a pick-up, were allotted to the drivers randomly.

In the morning, I had the Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, which I regret wasn’t on the list in yesterday’s email (nor was the Cadillac ELR—apologies). Example? The 2.0L turbo-diesel engine’s a marvel, especially for the money. On the drive to Squamish, a 68km series of steep climbs and precipitous falls, it delivered 4.8 L/100km. Exceptionally good, considering the route and, more especially, considering its combined EnerCan stats are 4.2. As the name suggests—enerCAN—those government stats are somewhat optimistic.

In the afternoon we were given new cars, again randomly, for the trip farther up BC’s sea-to-sky corridor to Whistler. Another diesel, the Mercedes-Benz ­GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC’s stats are city 11.9 L/100km, highway 8.6 L/100km. The views along the way are stunning, so I made several stops, seizing photography opportunities. (Despite being an SUV, the GL 350’s not unattractive amid BC’s Coastal Mountain Range.) So the accumulated numbers won’t be available for a couple of days.

All the car’s stats are being assembled and analyzed by a company called MyCarma. Eggheads from Waterloo, Ontario, they installed data gathering mechanisms in all the vehicles to measure a driver’s performance with the car. Eco-Run is also a competition to see who the greenest driver is. (Last year I won the Green Jersey on the first day but went south immediately thereafter.)

It’s not about who used the least fuel because the EVs would obviously win. Then the smaller cars would have an inherent advantage over the bigger ones.

So it’s all about efficiency. That doesn’t mean the dangerous assholeish behaviour of hypermiling, though. The data geeks penalize us for doing 50kmh in a 90 zone. We’ll talk more about driving efficiently in subsequent posts.

Though a co-owner and former editor of DailyXYSteven Bochenek is actually an advertising writer who does some journalism on the side. In 2011 he was accepted into the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. His other interests include playing music, long-distance running, skiing and writing in the third person.
Photo courtesy of the author.

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