Future Car Challenge: The Race for Fuel Economy
GFEI Parade       Car Challenge
A hybrid Toyota Prius and a BMW 320 Diesel with the green GFEI logo prominently displayed on them represented the Global Fuel Efficiency Initiative, which is a joint initiative of the FIA Foundation, the International Energy Agency, UNEP and the International Transport Forum, at the RAC's "Future Car Challenge" held on the Brighton to London route on 6 November. Both cars had been selected for their maximum five-star rating in EcoTest, the environmental assessment service supported by the FIA Foundation and they proved a good choice: The winner in the category for most efficient use of fuel by an international combustion engine passenger car was GFEI's diesel-driven BMW with FIA Foundation Director General David Ward at the wheel, accompanied by BBC Business Features Editor Jorn Madslien and co-driver Avi Silverman.

The event started just before 7 a.m., when the cars gathered by Brighton's seafront for the official check and to have a fuel reading data logger attached. The route was the reverse of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which took place the following day. Drivers were given advice on fuel efficient driving including keeping acceleration to a minimum, gentle braking and low use of the car's electrics. The on-road, concept and development vehicles participating included the Gordon Murray T.25 City Car, the Tesla Roadster, Tata's Indica Vista Electric and the 'Nemesis' developed by wind power entrepreneur Dale Vince. Other models that participated in the challenge - and in the parade along London's closed-off Regent Street after crossing the finishing line - were from VW, Skoda, Mercedes, Vauxhall, MG, Mitsubishi and Ford.

"Our car was an example of what can be done using today's technology", commented FIA Foundation Director General David Ward on the GFEI's victory. "It was a highly fuel efficient run, with just a conventional internal combustion engine. I was particularly impressed with the 'stop start' feature which allowed us to save fuel when we were kept stationary in heavy traffic just outside London.

Jack Short, Secretary General of the International Transport Forum, congratulated David Ward and his team on their success. "This was an impressive demonstration of what can be done with a combination of optimised existing technology and 'green driving'. It's not abstract, it's not the future. Everybody can do it, today."

The Global Fuel Efficiency Initiative was created to set out a path to a reduction in fuel consumption per kilometre of 50% for all new cars by 2030, extending to the entire global fleet by 2050 - the so-called '50by50' challenge. The GFEI is engaging with governments around the world, the car industry and other stakeholders to work towards achieving the 50 by 50 goal using only existing, cost effective technologies such as better engines and drive trains, more efficient components such as tyres, and lighter materials.

Watch the BBC feature on the Future Car Challenge

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