For the 7th straight year, a handful of journalists belonging to the AJAC (Automobile Journalists’ Association of Canada) are putting to the test some 20 vehicles labeled eco-friendly by their manufacturer. In the past, this annual event has taken place in and around different parts of the country, from Montreal to Toronto to Vancouver to Quebec City. This time, our merry group of automotive professionals headed east to New Brunswick for a trek that would take us from Moncton to Fredericton, a distance of around 560 km.
What is the EcoRun?
The EcoRun is a private event organized by AJAC, with the support of a number of auto manufacturers. Let’s be clear, this is not a race, nor a rally, nor even a contest to see who can squeeze the stingiest fuel consumption out of a vehicle (even if there is a small recognition given to the driver who manages to put up the best number). There are no prizes or awards handed out, nor special mentions. Instead, the goal of the exercise is for AJAC journalists to familiarize themselves with each of the vehicles, and be able to better inform consumers when they write, speak on air or step in front of the camera.
Obviously, questions regarding emissions, pollution and environmental impact are all front and centre, even though these currently take a bit of a back seat to the rising price of gasoline – see our recent report on how this has affected sales of electric cars.
Several sponsors also provide support for the event, including the Canadian Fuels Association, Natural Resources Canada, CAA Atlantic, Michelin North America (Canada) Inc., NB Power and Tourism New Brunswick.
This first day is taken up in part with the arrival in Moncton of the event participants and their check-in with the organization, which hands over the program, etc. As well, some vehicles whose range is insufficient to be used during the EcoRun itself are placed at the disposal of those who want take them for a short test drive.
Here is the list of vehicle we’ll be using for the EcoRun:
Chevrolet Equinox diesel
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Ford EcoSport 1.0 EcoBoost
Ford Fusion Energi
Honda Clarity Fuel Cell
Honda Clarity Plug-In
Hyundai IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid
Kia Optima Plug-In
Lexus LS 500H
Mazda CX-3 SKYACTIV-G
Mazda6 2.5 SKYACTIV -G
Mercedes-Benz GLC 350E
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota Prius Prime
Vehicles will be assigned to individual journalists at the start of day two.
As mentioned, some vehicles, like the Smart EQ and the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell, have insufficient range and require long charging times so cannot be used during the EcoRun.