The future of motoring on display

Greenfleet,a not-for-profit environmental organisation, took to the road on 28 March 2006 with a demonstration of showroom-ready vehicles embracing new-generation technologies that makes them radically more fuel efficient.

Eleven of the thirteen vehicles participating featured the latest high pressure turbo-diesel engines, and demonstrated just how far we have moved on from the belief that the 'oiler' is dirty, noisy and outdated. These cars are quiet, powerful and ultra fuel efficient!

Vehicles ranged from light cars through prestige and sports vehicles to a massive Jeep Grand Cherokee. As there were a range of drivers from feather-footed to lead-footed, the results achieved were very mixed. However, all participating vehicles illustrated radically better fuel efficiency than their modern petrol equivalents.

Cars set off from the Melbourne Zoo where they were flagged away by Bob Aikenhead, President of STAV. They then looped through the CBD in rush hour traffic and headed out along the Western highway to Nillumbik. After a time with Mayor andother dignitaries, the trial set off to the RACV Country Club at Healesville.'Ride & Drive' sessions were provided for participants to sample one another's vehicles before heading to Montrose where participants were overwhelmed by enthusiastic students. Then it was back to St Kilda Marina via rush hour traffic for refueling at BP Elwood.

The Holden AH Astra Diesel, Alfa Romeo 147 JTD, and smart for two all demonstrated that around 4.5 litres per 100km is a very achievable target for mixed city and country driving. This compares favourably with the (approximately) 12 litres per 100km that is the national average.

One of the most interesting figures was the achievement of a Mercedes Benz C 220CDI diesel at 6.7 litres per 100km, which would be excellent fuel efficiency for any small car on the market at the present time.

The purpose of the Technology Trial is to demonstrate that it is possible to be responsible about the greenhouse impacts of our cars without necessarily having to sacrifice our lifestyle choices.

The vehicles in the event showed that these new technologies offer on average about a 30% fuel efficiency gain when compared to standard petrol models.

There is usually a price premium to pay, but this will be offset by vastly reduced fuel bills and strong residual values for the vehicles when we go to sell them.

This is a step that everybody can take when buying a new car.

At the start of the Technology Trial, Peter Brock presented a trophy to Westbourne Grammar for winning the Concept Car Design competition, run by Greenfleet in partnership with the Science Teachers' Association of Victoria (STAV). The students then traveled with the event in a hydrogen fuel powered bus, brought to Melbourne from Perth.

The participating vehicles were also featured at the Greenfleet Fuels &Technology display at the 2006 FORMULA 1™ Foster's Australian Grand Prix, and ran demonstration laps of the track each day. The two hydrogen fuel cell buses were also showcased, and these were used for VIP Circuit Bus Tours.