|Divisional average fuel economy for hybrids in the TdS Monte Carlo rally. Click to enlarge.|
The recently-concluded 2006 Tour del Sol attracted a range of stock, modified and original vehicles that participated in the three competitive events: the Monte Carlo-style Rally and High-Mileage Challenge; the Tour de Sol Championship; and the Around-Town Vehicle Competition. (Earlier post.)
As such, it provides a good window into the more immediate possibilities for fuel-efficient and lower-carbon driving.
The Monte Carlo Rally featured 25 competitors in 8 divisions. (For vehicles that participated in both the Drive-In and Efficiency Event, the final mpg is weighted based on 30% for Drive-in and 70% for 200-mile Efficiency event.)
Four entrants in the Toyota Prius “Classic” (MY 2001-2003) division averaged 55.5 mpg US. Two entrants in the new Prius division (MY 2004-2006) averaged 58 mpg US.
The stock Honda Insight division featured the largest number of entrants—7—and delivered an average 77 mpg US, plus the grand champion for mpg: 89.3 mpg US. Two Civic Hybrids competed in that division, with a average 55 mpg.
One Ford Escape hybrid participated, with an average 37.2 mpg.
One modified Insight competed in the Plug-in Hybrid division, delivering 76.7 mpg. This was Mike Dabrowksi’s Insight, modified as a plug-in (augmented by solar) and using MIMA—Manual Integrated Motor Assist. (Earlier post.)
Two modified Insights competed in the turbo-hybrid division, averaging 76.2 mpg.
The biofuel and alternative fuel division had six entrants, including two biodiesel cars (B20 and B100), one biodiesel truck (B100), two vegetable oil-powered cars and one CNG vehicle (Honda GX). No flex-fuel vehicles competed.
The winning biodiesel car was a 1984 Ford Escort diesel running B20, with 47.8 mpg. Runner-up was a 2000 new Beetle TDI, at 41.5 mpg. The winning veggie oil car was a 1973 Porsche 914, with 53.3 mpg. Runner-up was a 1976 Austin Mini Clubman, at 48.9 mpg. The truck, a 2005 F250, hit 15.9 mpg, and the Honda GX came in at 33.5 mpge.
The Tour de Sol Championship challenged students, independent teams, and auto manufacturers to build one-of-a-kind or production vehicles that aim to reduce gasoline use and work toward zero climate change emissions.
There were three competitive categories in the TdSC: Alternative Fuel and Hybrids (6 entrants); Battery Electric Vehicles (3 entrants); and solar-assisted electric vehicles (4 entrants). Contestants were judged by a number of metrics including technology, hill climb, acceleration, autocross, greenhouse gas emissions, efficiency and range.
Winner in the Alt-fuel and Hybrids category was the West Philadelphia High School team with a purpose-built B100-fueled sports car that can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds and achieves fuel economy of 55 mpg with 58 grams of GHG per mile. Three of the vehicles used B100, one used vegetable oil, one was a purpose-built biomethane-electric hybrid (NiMH) and one was a gasoline-electric hybrid (lead-acid).
The Battery Electric Vehicle category had four entrants (three student, one independent), all using converted vehicles: a 1986 Ford Escort, a 1999 Lomax, a 1987 VW Vanagon and a 2005 Toyota Echo. First place in the student division went to Burlington Country Electechs, with the 1986 Ford Escort powered by a combination of lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries, with a range of 34 miles (not its best metric). The Toyota Echo, the eVermont entry as the independent, used ZEBRA nickel-sodium batteries and had a range of 70 miles.
Four entrants competed in the solar-assisted vehicle category, one in the two+ person division, and three in the single-person vehicle division. The winner in the latter was the West Irondequoil Solar Car Team, with a lead-acid, solar-assisted platform that delivered a range of 12 miles. St. Mark’s EV Club, the entrant in the 2+ division, used a converted 1994 Ford Ranger (solar plus lead acid batteries) and turned in a range of 64 miles.
The Around-Town Vehicle Competition challenged students and others to build electric bikes and neighborhood vehicles as well as off-road vehicles.
Competition was held in three categories: electric bicycles and tricycles; neighborhood electric vehicles; and track/non-road electric vehicles.
Eight entrants competed in the electric bike and trike division. Winner in the Production division was Optibike with its Model 400 e-Bike (pedal plus NiMH and Li-ion batteries). EV Tech took first in the independent division with a modified Wavecrest bike (pedal + lithium polymer); first in the student division was the NTID Ebike Club at RIT with a converted pedal + lithium-ion bike.
All three entrants in the NEV category used GEM vehicles, although the first place winner in the student division (Project e-3) modified the GEM with solar assist.
Although three teams entered the non-road category, two scratched, leaving the NFA Solar Racing team as the winner with a solar-assisted EV.