– The second day of AJAC's Brighton to London Eco-Run began with a press conference at Toronto's Centennial College School of Transportation.
According to the previous day's data, 70% of the vehicles met or exceeded the Energuide ratings during the first leg, yet that number rose to 80% by the second leg following a lunchtime discussion of fuel-conserving driving tips.
We've been constantly surprised by the level of enthusiasm we've experienced toward the venture from those met along our way. We're treated to an extensive tour of the Centennial College's automotive labs where we learn about their hybrid technology training for apprentices, virtual painting processes that teach technique without chemical exposure, and enjoy a drool-inducing visit to the motorcycle and powersports department – which featured several high-end performance bikes in various degrees of enhancement.
|Photo: Lesley Wimbush
The programs receive considerable support from the OEMs in the form of new vehicle and component donations. And why not? For the manufacturers, it's an investment in their future. An estimated 60% of all working technicians in Ontario are graduates of Centennial College.
The instructors’ excitement is infectious. They're clearly passionate about transportation and thrilled that we've joined them – not only to share with us what the campus has to offer, but to show their enthusiasm for the attention we're focusing on the importance of sustainable mobility.
For the first leg of day 2, I'm at the wheel of the Chevrolet Volt. It's fully charged and showing a range of 67 km. After an 11.9-km drive across Toronto, encompassing hills and highway, I used 0L/100km of gas, and 1.4kw of battery power.
Over coffee and refreshments, we listen to a presentation by Teresa Di Felice of CAA, one of the Eco-Run event's partners. She outlines CAA's various programs promoting eco-conscientious driving, from online challenges, daily eco-driving tips for prizes and an Ecochoice Calculator that helps purchasers understand the costs and impacts of their vehicle choices.
We've learned that increasing our following distances results in less braking – thus less fuel expended in accelerating back up to speed. There has so far been a very noticeable fuel consumption increase in vehicles containing more than one occupant. Exceeding the speed limit, even by a little, makes a big difference in overall fuel reading.
A steady speed using cruise control on the highway, and lifting off the gas to slow down instead of braking has proven very effective in keeping those numbers low.
Due to the broad spectrum of participating vehicles, the event was not intended to be a challenge. Yet the competitive spirit has been awakened in most of the drivers, each of whom tries to better the number of whoever drove the car before them.