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Journeys : Apr May 2011
How I drove more than 42 metres on a millilitre of diesel Darren Moody surprises himself on the VW One Litre Challenge Ever wondered how far you could drive on just one litre of fuel? I recently had the opportunity to find out when I took part in the Volkswagen One Litre Challenge. On the flight to Melbourne, it was time for a little mental ar ithmetic. The VW Polo 66TDI has an average consumption figure of 4.7L/100km, or just over 20 kilometres to the litre. I thought I might do a little better than that, so maybe around 25 kilometres might be possible? But my jaw dropped when former rally champ Ed Ordinski gave a pre-trial briefing indicating he had set a benchmark distance of 38.5 kilometres! Nine of us, including motor ing journalists and colleagues from some of our sister motor ing clubs, were each given the keys to an identical VW Polo. The vehicles had data logging equipment fitted, so no funny business like turning the engine off going downhill was allowed. The vehicles’ fuel systems were primed with a minimum and identical amount of fuel. One litre of diesel was then measured and poured into the tank. The tank flap was then sealed. The loop took us from Melbour ne Airport through a couple of roundabouts towards Sunbury. The route had a bit of countr y running and a couple of T-intersections before heading back to the airport. The total loop distance was a bit less than 50 kilometres, so clearly, no-one was going to make it back. I was a little nervous! While I knew the principles of economical driving I really didn’t practise them all that often, so the 38.5 kilometre benchmark wasn’t an expectation – but I felt that if I could get within a couple of kilometres of it, then I would be satisfied. Everything was ready – I ensured the air conditioning was off, settled in comfortably and made all the necessary seat, mirror and belt adjustments so I could purely concentrate on the task at hand. I gave the starter the thumbs up, the tech switched on the data logger and I was off. Luckily I had a dream run out of the car park and through the first intersection, then it was onto the highway around the back of the airport. The Polo has shift lights to assist in economical dr iving and while I did shift the first couple of times via the light I found you could shift up at lower revs w ithout too much fuss from the engine. One of the first things I did was to raise my eye level a little – I needed to maintain momentum, so anticipating traffic f low would be vitally important, while still managing a safe highway speed so I didn’t become a mobile chicane for other traffic. Once underway it was amazing how I noticed the slightest incline on what may have previously seemed to be flat road. By anticipating the traffic and using gears rather than brakes to slow down I was able to negotiate the two roundabouts. Life on the move 24 April / May 2011 Driver training for all .drivers. Modern vehicles Expert instructors Individual driving lessons for learners and driver assessment RACT Driver Training graduates receive special discounts on joining RACT Roadside membership. Low-Risk Driver Training with both private and business courses. Hobart 6232 6399 Launceston 6335 5612 Devonport 6421 1918 Burnie 6434 2913 6609 www.ract.com.au
Feb March 2011
Jun Jul 2011