Saturday, October 31st, 2009 by Simon Hackett
How would you like your car to achieve the equivalent of 1.6 Litres per 100 km (US 150 MPG)?
Would you like to do that while paying between AUS$69 and AUS$126 for your energy costs (including a surcharge to buy 100% GreenPower), to take you 3147 kilometres from the top of Australia to the bottom?
(or to put it another way: between 2.2 and 4 cents per km over that entire distance using GreenPower)?
We’ve just demonstrated that its possible – if the car is a pure electric vehicle.
Here are the results we’ve achieved for the 2009 Global Green Challenge ‘Eco Challenge’ event – in a downloadable table that you can find here:
The structure of the inaugural Global Green Challenge ‘Eco Challenge’ event was unable to fully accommodate the realities of what was needed to drive this car through every one of the often very long event stages.
On the ‘shorter’ (< 400 km) stages, the Roadster mixed it with all other cars without compromise; We drove the same distance in the same time, at the same speeds, meeting all criteria for being scored fully on that stage.
However, on longer stages (some approaching 700 kms), we had to stop to recharge the car once or twice (depending on stage length), and the event rules this year then meant that those delays took us over the maximum allowable elapsed time to complete the stage.
Had recharge time been subtracted, we would have easily met all other scoring criteria for all stages, including achieving the required minimum speeds.
Because this is an economy event, most competitors arrived exactly at the nominated maximum time for a given event stage, to minimise their average speed and hence maximise their demonstrated efficiency.
(Aside: The upcoming Tesla Model S will feature a rapid charge option (as little as 45 minutes). Both the Model S and upcoming vehicles from other manufacturers, such as the Renault vehicles to be deployed by Better Place Australia will also be able to convert ‘recharge’ time into a rapid battery swap where required. Perhaps we’re only a few years away from the recharge time ceasing to be an issue for EV’s)
Because of these challenges specific to EV’s in this inaugural ‘Eco Challenge’ event, we received no official score in the formal event results – which are designed to assess litres per 100 km of petrol or diesel, and not Kilowatt Hours.
Our table (above) shows the real achieved performance of the vehicle over more than 3100 km’s, in conditions that were often hot (41 Celcius) and windy at times.
Note that the performance in the Adelaide Urban Cycle is better than the highway numbers. This is normal for EV’s – and an indication of just how suitable they are for the majority of people who live in urban environments, where there is simply no issue about wasted fuel at low speeds or when waiting at traffic lights.
We feel that we have tested the Roadster in a very harsh environment indeed – and in that environment, it has come through with flying colours. We couldn’t be happier about the results of our efforts.
Naturally, we’ve learned a great deal in the process of participating in this event.
We’ll apply what we’ve learned ‘next time’ and see if we can do even better!