With the 2006 Challenge Bibendum now wrapped up, the organizers have posted the results of both the technical tests and the rally.
Technical scores are assigned on a letter basis (“A”, “B” etc.), and there is no overall technical winner. Scoring is relative within the class of vehicle, and the actual marking is based on performance levels for the country of origin. Thus a battery-electric vehicle can score an A on emissions, and have the same letter grade as an E85 flex-fuel car that also earns an “A” on emissions—even though it’s clear that the E85 combustion engine is emitting, and the BEV is not.
That allows a company such as GM to assert—as it has—that it received “eight top scores” at the event. Yet for the three top marks scored by the Opel Zafira Hydrogen 3, for example, Tongji University from China scored 10 best marks with its hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, Nissan scored nine, and so on.
Within each powertrain category, however, comparing some of the scoring by converting the letter to a number (A=5, B=4 and so on and then taking an average) can be interesting—although, again, given the relative nature of the scoring, not a definitive evaluation.
|Fuel cell results. Click to enlarge.|
Fuel cells. There were nine fuel-cell light-duty passenger vehicles entered in the technical tests this year: two from Nissan, two from Tongji University (China), two from DaimlerChrysler, one from Michelin/PSI, one from Ford, and one from GM.
The five vehicles that scored solid “A”s in the categories of Noise, Emissions, Fuel Efficiency and CO2 tank-to-wheels were from one from Nissan, two from Tongji, and two from DaimlerChrysler.
The fuel-cell prototypes from Tongji University were, in other words, relatively neck-and-neck with those from Nissan and DaimlerChrysler, and beat out the offerings from Ford and GM. Where Tongji faltered slightly was in the performance tests: acceleration, braking and slalom.
|Hybrid results. Click to enlarge.|
Hybrids. The PSA diesel hybrid prototype C4 nudged out the Prius for top spot in the hybrids, based on better performance in the slalom. In third place was the CNG Prius prototype from IFP (earlier post), followed by another Prius conversion—this one to LPG—in fourth.
When factoring in the informational scores as well as the award scores, however, the Prius-C4 relationship flipped, with the Prius coming out on top, followed by the C4 diesel hybrid.
|CNG results. Click to enlarge.|
CNG. In CNG vehicles, Volvo took the number one and two award spots, with the V70 and S60 respectively. With all consideration factored in, that reversed, with the S60 taking first, and the V70 taking second. In third place was the Mercedes E200 NGT.
The Rally. A Toyota Prius took first place in the rally, followed by a DaimlerChrysler hydrogen- fuel-cell F-Cell A-Class (700 bar), and a Toyota Avensis D-4D diesel in third. The Tongji University fuel-cell cars came in 14th and 15th.