When I received the invite to the Bridgestone Racing Academy – I couldn’t contain my excitement. The Bridgestone Racing Academy is one of a kind and it teaches future race stars and racing enthusiasts how to successfully and safely drive a race car. Now where else would you get the same experience as Danica Patrick or James Hinchcliffe, who were once instructed at this very same school?
The Bridgestone Racing Academy is held at the newly named Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (CTMP), formerly Mosport. The day starts out with some classroom time led by owner Brett Goodman and chief instructor Jamie Fitzmaurice. They both went over certain safety procedures as well as how to handle some tricky corners around the race track. Surprisingly, every media member in this group would be in a Formula car for their first time, so I’m sure there was plenty of nervous tension to go around from the drivers to the instructors who have a 28-year injury-free safety record intact.
The formula cars were powered by a Mazda engine producing 170 horsepower, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but what you need to consider is that these race cars only weigh 900 lbs., so it’s a hell of a lot faster than you think.
The day wouldn’t be only about racing, the team from Suncor were on hand to teach us more about Ultra 94, a premium gas that’s used in these very Formula cars. Considering the cost of fuel nowadays, I’m sure many would like to understand more about why they need to stick to using this higher quality fuel. But first it was time to hit the track and feel that Ultra 94 in use.
Drivers, start your engines!
We were supplied racing suits, shoes, gloves, and helmets, you name it – they had it. They supply you with everything to make you feel like a race car driver, but it was left to me to actually drive like one. We all know there was no chance for that, but the main focus was to master the correct braking points, hit the racing lines and keep up with the lead instructor.
Little did I realize that the biggest challenge might be getting in and out of the Formula car. It’s no longer a shock why most race car drivers are petite in stature and I start to feel sorry for the Justin Wilsons and Mark Webbers of the racing world. I manoeuvred myself into the cockpit and had belts fastened over each leg and over each shoulder. Safe to say I wasn’t going anywhere as I could barely move, but nothing could contain my excitement.
I flicked the engine switch on and pushed the big black button to start it up queuing one of the best adrenaline rushing sounds you’ll here.
These cars are fitted with a sequential gear shift, so that was easy to work with as long as you remember or feel what gear you’re in. It took a little time to get used to the clutch as this car didn’t work like your typical street manual. Once you start to depress the clutch you have to get on that throttle and give it some – this wasn’t going to be a test on how smooth you could do it.
We were off and running for three separate sessions. The first would be a slower ride to get familiar with the race car and CTMP’s 12 turns and we got progressively quicker as our comfort level improved.
After starting off I put it in second gear and pedalled my way through turns two and three. It would definitely take a little time to get used to driving these Formula cars, because you’re so close to the ground as if you’re driving one of those Flintstones’ cars while leaning back. To understand it fully, I was at level with those Bridgestone Potenza tires.
During the second run, I started to gear shift quite frequently between second, third and fourth to get a good feel for the sticky shift and find the appropriate moments to ease off the throttle and shift down while approaching the corners.
I tried to incorporate all of my racing knowledge while in these beautiful specimens. I broke before the corners, gently accelerated from the turning point to the apex and hit the throttle hard as the steering wheel straightened out. The biggest thrill were the corners before the long straightaway that you can attack hard by shifting down to second and picking up the throttle quickly into third and then fourth allowing you to reach your highest speeds and fly down that large straight. Some might have tested it in fifth gear, but it was fast enough in fourth and the instructors did warn us of the concrete wall at turn 12, so I didn’t want to push it – I'm a guest after all.
I always love track time, because it gives me the chance to improve on my racing skills and the Bridgestone Racing Academy gave us more than enough laps to master our craft. I’m definitely using the word master loosely!
Before I knew it my time was done and the thrilling experience was over. For a person that gets some track time occasionally, I had an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. It just proves what a great corporate event or birthday present the Bridgestone Racing Academy could be. Brett, Jamie and the rest of the crew take you through the ropes in class with tips on how to tackle each corner and they continue that lesson with helping you out whenever you need during your track time. They really know how to make it a fun experience while keeping the entire day organized and safe.
In the middle of the session and after lunch, we were treated to an Ultra 94 presentation as mentioned before. If you’re not familiar with Ultra 94, it’s the super-premium gasoline offered at Petro Canada. It surpasses the recommended octane in any street vehicle, so the question is why would people spend the extra money to get it?
Ultra 94 is a choice and it's nice to see that it's offered to us, but what are the benefits?
The 94 octane level resists knocking which is when abnormal combustion occurs creating the fuel/air mixture to burn more rapidly. The higher the octane, the more resistant it is to knocking and the better performance you get out of your vehicle.
If you’re really into getting the maximum performance out of your vehicle – Ultra 94 can definitely help. The people at Ultra 94 preached that it will maximize horsepower, acceleration and performance. Furthermore, it will optimize fuel economy and reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.
It’s not for everybody or every car, but if you’ve paid for a high-priced luxury sports vehicle like the BMW M6 Coupe or the Mercedes-BenzSL 63 AMG Roadster – you might want to partake in some Ultra 94.
Should you pay if you have a Scion FR-S or Subaru Impreza WRX STI?
You need to figure out if it’s worth it to you – all depends on what you’re doing with your car. If you like to take it to track and get the most out of it, it might be worth it. If you’re driving back-and-forth from home to work in it with the occasional fun drive, you might be better off with the recommended octane listed.
The advantages of Ultra 94 were intriguing and it worked it sync with what they do at the Bridgestone Racing Academy. Ultra 94 is trying to increase their awareness and recently became the new title sponsor and official fuel for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. Racing is the perfect arena to demonstrate Ultra 94’s performance and it showcased its talents at the Bridgestone Racing Academy and I’m sure it will do the same in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.
If you’ve ever had the desire to try out a racing car, I can’t think of a better place to start than the Bridgestone Racing Academy. It was an experience I will remember forever and one where I want to try several more times. It was a thrilling ride and the instructors allow you to go at the pace you want while being safe in the process. Therefore, if you’re more experienced you can tackle the course at the speed you wish; while on the flip side, if you’re new and want to take a more conservative approach you can go at the speed you’re comfortable in. It’s your experience, so do what you want with it and have a blast – I know I did.
DEARBORN, MI – The 2014 Ford F-150 Tremor is the first-ever EcoBoost®-powered sport truck that addresses the needs of street truck enthusiasts looking for high-performance V8 power with V6 fuel economy.
The short-wheelbase, regular-cab Tremor goes on sale this fall delivering distinctive looks and performance. The all-new truck couples the style of the FX Appearance Package with an EcoBoost engine and a launch-optimized 4.10 rear axle – the shortest final drive ratio offered in an EcoBoost F-150 – helping provide customers with fast acceleration.
Tremor signals its sport truck capabilities with a custom-inspired FX Appearance Package featuring stealthy, flat-black accents that include unique 20-inch flat-black wheels, stylized bodyside graphics and black badges with red lettering.
Tremor is the only regular-cab F-150 offering a flow-through center console and bucket seats. Interior touches include black leather seating surfaces with red piping, brushed-metal accents and a red-stitched steering wheel. Alcantara seat inserts add texture and style as well.
“The new Tremor gives F-150 customers yet another option to drive a highly capable, distinctive performance truck with features typically found only in the aftermarket,” said Brian Bell, F-150 product marketing manager. “Plus, the Built Ford Tough EcoBoost engine is available for the first time in a short-wheelbase F-150.”
F-150 Tremor is powered exclusively by Ford’s groundbreaking 3.5-litre EcoBoost engine, which features:
- 365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm on regular fuel
- 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,500 rpm
- Twin independent variable camshaft timing for improved performance and fuel economy
- Up to 90 percent peak torque available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm
An electronic locking rear differential that’s standard for both two- and four-wheel-drive versions helps deliver the power to the pavement by improving traction during takeoff.
Connectivity comes standard on F-150 Tremor with MyFord Touch® powered by SYNC®. Designers have optimized the physical interface for MyFord Touch to accommodate truck users who may be wearing work gloves by providing easy access to climate controls and audio presets on the center stack.
FINDLAY, Ohio – As the end of the school term draws to a close throughout Canada, Cooper Tire has marked the first year of a three-year partnership with Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (HEROS) by presenting the organization with a $25,000 donation. HEROS is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to engaging, motivating and educating children throughout Canada through involvement in hockey. The organization’s Executive Director, Norm Flynn, recently joined Cooper Tire’s Chris Ostrander, President, North America Tire Operations, at an event to receive the donation.
During Cooper’s recent consumer rebate event, Take the Money & Ride, Canadians played an important role in the donation, as Cooper encouraged consumers to contribute a portion of their rebate to HEROS, matching each $5 donation dollar for dollar, up to an aggregate of $25,000 in matching donations.
“Cooper is proud to support HEROS’ dedication to Canadian communities, providing youth with valuable life skills that will pave the path for their future success,” said Ostrander. “Our partnership works so well because the values of Cooper and HEROS align, working toward similar goals of teamwork and education.”
Since 2000, HEROS has worked with more than 3,200 children to make their education enjoyable and to help their dreams become a reality. Participants in the program, handpicked from some of Canada’s toughest neighborhoods, work with mentors throughout the school year to develop leadership skills and a sound work ethic. With many of the children involved in HEROS coming from households that often cannot afford cars or even three square meals a day, donations to the organization directly fund mentorship training programs as well as the children’s hockey equipment.
“Cooper’s donation supports the HEROS program in a significant way,” said Flynn. “We’re able to fund the children’s participation, equipment and meals for every program and clinic we host. The values of leadership, teamwork and volunteerism learned in this program will last long after the final school bell rings – these are life-long lessons.”
Richmond Hill, ON — Mazda Motor Corporation today revealed the hatchback version of the all-new Mazda3. The redesigned Mazda3 is the third in Mazda’s new generation of products that adopt both the KODO–Soul of Motion design theme and the full-suite of SKYACTIV Technologies. The sports compact that will redefine driving pleasure will be launched around the globe, with sales starting in Canada this fall.
Thanks to the dynamic expressions of KODO design, the Mazda3 suggests exhilarating driving at first glance. In addition, SKYACTIV Technology delivers a “jinba-ittai” experience of oneness between car and driver, which deepens with every mile driven. Introduced for the first time with the 3rd generation Mazda3 is a new car connectivity system that broadens the scope of that driving experience. The system features a new Human Machine Interface (HMI) that is designed with the highest priority placed on driving safety. A wide range of Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE advanced active safety technologies aid the driver in recognizing and avoiding hazards. Mazda has consistently aimed to offer customers driving pleasure and this compelling package ensures the all-new Mazda3 is no exception.
The engine line-up includes two versions of Mazda’s SKYACTIV-G gasoline engine in 2.0 and 2.5 litre displacements. The line-up will be optimized for the Canadian market to meet the diverse needs of a wide variety of customers across the country.
Since the launch of the first generation in 2003, more than 3.5 million Mazda3s have been sold around the world, and over 430,000 have been sold in Canada. It is the best-selling model in the Mazda line-up and accounts for a third of the company’s annual global sales. Previous generations of the Mazda3 were acclaimed in markets around the world for their emotive design, responsive and enjoyable driving, environmental and safety performance, and excellent craftsmanship. The model has received 136 awards globally.
If you haven’t had a chance to make it down to the Motorexpo – the show is on until this Friday, June 28th.
The Toronto Motorexpo is held at Brookefield Place and First Canadian Place. Both areas are transformed into a specialized luxurious auto show in the heart of Toronto’s business district. It’s free to visit and gives you the chance to see the latest high-end offerings by the automotive manufacturers.
The show is open daily from 10am to 6pm, but you only have three days left, so get out there. For more information please visit: www.motorexpo.com
Markham, ON – The first official photos of the Canadian version of the all-new 2014 Accord Hybrid set to hit dealerships nationwide this October are now available on Hondanews.ca . The Accord Hybrid features the same sophisticated styling found on the Accord Sedan, plus upscale detailing with unique hybrid badging and blue-accented grille and light lenses, LED lighting, a unique wheel design and a decklid spoiler. The Accord Hybrid joins an award-winning family, including the Accord Sedan and Accord Coupe.
The 2014 Accord Hybrid will use Honda’s new two-motor hybrid powertrain along with two-motor SPORT HYBRID Intelligent Multi Mode Drive powertrain. This will enable the Accord Hybrid to move through three different driving modes, EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive to optimize efficiency and fuel economy.
In ‘EV Drive’, the Accord Hybrid uses the lithium-ion battery to run in electric-only mode at lower speeds and in medium to high speed cruising, “Engine Drive” sends the engine power directly to the front wheels. In “Hybrid Drive’ the powerful 124-kilowatt (kW) electric motor and the all-new 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine blend together for powerful acceleration while allowing for efficient driving in stop and go traffic situations. The Accord Hybrid is anticipated to deliver fuel economy1 of 4.0/4.2/4.1 (City/Hwy/Combined) L/100Km.
The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid will be the first Honda hybrid vehicle assembled in Ohio and the second built in North America. The Accord Hybrid joins the diverse Accord lineup, which includes the four-cylinder and V-6 powered Accord Sedan and sporty Accord Coupe.
Inside, the Accord Hybrid’s intuitive layout provides the driver with instant fuel economy and energy flow information for optimal driving performance. Along with innovative new features such Honda’s LaneWatch™ blind-spot monitoring system, an industry-first which debuted on the Accord last fall, other available features on the 2014 Accord Hybrid include Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW), an 8-inch colour i-MID display, perforated leather-trimmed seating surfaces, cloud-based HondaLink™ featuring Aha™, 360-watt seven-speaker audio system with Bluetooth® streaming audio, XM® Radio, and a multi-angle rear-view camera with guidelines.
The 2014 Accord Hybrid features the same next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure as the 2013 Accord, along with Honda’s new SmartVent™ front-side airbags. Like the 2013 Accord, the 2014 Accord Hybrid is expected to earn similar top safety ratings including an NCAP 5-Star safety ratings and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
DETROIT, MI - Chrysler avoided a showdown with government safety regulators Tuesday, agreeing to recall 2.7 million older Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs that could be at risk of a fuel tank fire.
Earlier this month the company defiantly refused the government's request to recall the Jeeps. But Chrysler now says it will go ahead with the recall after getting calls from concerned customers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contended that the Jeep's gas tank could rupture if hit from the rear, causing a fire. NHTSA said 51 people had died in fiery crashes in Jeeps with gas tanks positioned behind the rear axle.
The recall covers Jeep Grand Cherokees from model years 1993 through 2004 and Jeep Libertys from 2002 through 2007.
Chrysler said Tuesday that dealers will inspect the vehicles and install trailer hitches to protect the gas tanks. The company said vehicles without hitches will get them, as will those with broken hitches or hitches that aren't from Chrysler.
In a statement, Chrysler maintained that the vehicles aren't defective, despite prior statements to the contrary from NHTSA.
Chrysler wouldn't say how much the trailer hitches would cost.
A well established fact is that drunk driving has significant consequences for property damage, and more importantly for permanent injuries, loss of life, long-term healthcare issues and additional medical expenses. A number of societal resources and organizations exist for the sole purpose of reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road and drunk driving fatality rates. Now, with the widespread use of smartphones, a new type of driving hazard has arisen, leading people to ask the question: Is distracted driving more dangerous than drunk driving?
Drivers in the United States spend an average of 25.5 minutes daily commuting to and from work, and there is a great temptation to make time on the road productive. Distracted driving is not a new concept. For many years, people have engaged in risky behaviours while driving including applying make-up, shaving, eating, drinking, and lighting cigarettes.
However, during the past 10 years, a number of new distracted driving behaviours have emerged including:
•Talking on phones
•Texting on phones
•Reading books, newspapers, or other written content on smartphones or tablets
•Accessing the controls for iPods and other MP3 devices
•Using laptops or netbook computers
•Playing hand-held games
•Using GPS devices
These distracting behaviours are serious enough on their own to lead many people to answer “yes” to the question: Is distracted driving more dangerous than drunk driving? However, all of these behaviours become exponentially more dangerous during certain driving conditions including poor weather. Drivers need to be aware of current road conditions and the behaviour of the other drivers on the road at all times. Maintaining complete attention is imperative in order to be prepared for sudden stops and starts, any unusual actions by other drivers and dangerous road conditions.
Over 340 people die annually in the United States as a result of car accidents due to icy road conditions. This number is insignificant in comparison to the more than 440,000 injuries and 5,400 deaths that occur in the United States each year as a result of distracted driving.
Distracted driving is a particular issue among teenage drivers. Consider the following statistics:
•75% of all teenagers ages 12 to 17 in the United States have their own cell phones.
•66% of these teenagers use their phones to send or receive text messages.
•Older teenagers are more likely than their younger counterparts to use text messaging; 82% of teenagers ages 16 and 17 use cell phones and 76% of them text almost exclusively.
•Just over half of the teenagers who have their own cell phones have talked on the phone while driving, or about 43% of all teenagers ages 16 and 17 in the United States.
•One in three teenagers ages 16 and 17 who text frequently do so while driving, which translates to 26% of all teenagers ages 16 and 17 in the United States.
A number of research studies clearly illustrate the significant dangers of texting while driving. One of the most serious dangers is that texting substantially delays a driver's reaction time. Individuals who text while driving on dry, clear roads have a reaction time that is almost one second longer than individuals who do not text. It’s interesting to note that individuals with a 0.08% blood alcohol level have a reaction time that is twice as fast as texting drivers when the driving conditions are the same.
Best practice is to pull off on the side of the road or wait until arriving at a destination to pull out a phone and text. Texting while driving is never worth the potential risks that a driver and the other drivers on the road will face.
About the author:
Doug Climenhaga is president of SVI International, Inc., a leading supplier of parts for industrial lift equipment, including brake lathe parts. With more than 20 years experience in the hydraulic and automotive lift industries, he holds two patents and has designed scores of problem-solving products.
Concern with fuel costs has dominated news headlines for years and there doesn’t seem to be any relief coming anytime soon. However, during that same timeline and even before, car manufacturers have shifted their attention to fuel saving vehicles and expedited its production to alleviate some of the stress at the pumps.
Last year, AJAC started the Eco Run to feature and educate consumers on the more fuel-efficient and environmentally safe vehicles that are available. It was a chance to learn more about fuel-efficient technologies and auto manufacturers helped this venture out by providing their latest and greatest vehicles on a multiple day drive throughout different areas of Canada.
The Eco Run is not only about the vehicles, but about the way we drive them. It’s understandable that you might not be looking for a new car at the moment, but there are plenty of ways that you can still save money at the pump by the way you drive them and that includes the gas guzzlers you might own. I will get into this a bit more as we go along.
The first Eco Run last year went through Ontario from Brighton to London, but Eco Run 2.0 took a more exciting route from Ottawa, Ontario to Montréal, Quebec just ten days ago. There were 22 vehicles in total assigned to 22 AJAC members throughout the three day journey. I was assigned five different vehicles to parade to the various staged stops along the way.
On hand for the second annual Eco Run was a variety of vehicles including full electrics, hybrids, plug-ins, diesels and straight out more fuel-efficient vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE). And within those segments were a variety of compact cars, sedans, SUVs and one large pickup truck.
I’m going to break down all the different vehicles I drove, as well as the stops along the way.
Day 1 – Ottawa, ON to Montebello, QC
The Eco Run starting spot was the Hilton Garden Inn where we were assigned our vehicles to drive to the Natural Resources Headquarters in Ottawa for the official start. Mine was the Mercedes-Benz GLK 250 BlueTEC – the first diesel in its class.
There’s nothing like the GLK 250 out there making it more impressive as it smoothly made its way around the Parliament buildings. The GLK is fitted with a 2.1-liter inline four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that has 200 hp and a whopping 369 lb.-ft. of torque. There wasn’t a peep heard in the cabin as I hypermiled my way to the Chateau Laurier for lunch.
The key to driving efficiently is being gentle on acceleration. Once you’ve slowly reached your desired travelling speed, you should maintain that pace throughout unless you need to slow down or stop. A nice tip when getting ready to stop is taking your foot off the accelerator and coast to decelerate before eventually braking. In order to do this, you must always be fully aware of what’s going on around you. If you can foresee what’s going to happen ahead, such as a yellow light or checking the walkway countdown numbers (which I know we all do) we can be able to coast and reduce carbon dioxide emissions and lessen our trips to the pumps.
At the end of the morning session of almost all city driving, the GLK 250 had a combined fuel economy rating of 7.6 L/ 100 km, which is incredible given Mercedes-Benz ratings for it at 7.2L/100 km combined at 8.3L/100 km in the city.
All of those eco-driving techniques were employed during my drives and they should be incorporated into your driving habits as well. I explained all of those habits to some CAA members after they finished their AGM meeting at the Chateau. They were very eager to hear more about some of the individual cars and ways they can save money. It was a nice opportunity to share our wealth of knowledge with consumers who generally showed an interest in cars and the environment.
The afternoon portion of the day had me in something totally different, a pure electric – the Ford Focus EV. This would be a total change from the SUV, but that’s what the Eco Run is all about.
The all-electric 2013 Ford Focus has an electric motor that produces 143 horsepower and 181 lb.-ft. of torque coupled with a lithium-ion battery and a single-speed automatic transmission. For this trek, I was to take that Focus EV from the Chateau Laurier to the Chateau Montebello. Sounds good doesn’t it!
The only issue with a pure EV is distance – I’m sure the organizers of this event put that at the top of mind when mapping out the routes. The Focus EV could go around the 100 km mark and this trip was just shy of 90 km, so this would put my navigational and driving talents to the test. As many can attest to, my navigational skills can be questioned at all times.
Not surprisingly, a wrong turn was made before I entered the highway out of Ottawa and I had to make a few turns to get back on track. Not a biggie, as I had some room to spare and I knew my steady highway driving would provide me some added driving time. I arrived at the Chateau Montebello with 14 km to spare and a chance to relax and marvel at the stunning Chateau.
Day 2 – Montebello, QC to Saint-Eustache, QC
After a night of shenanigans and rest, I set my sights on the Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv for the drive from Montebello to Blainville.
The Mazda CX-5 was the first Mazda vehicle to offer Skyactiv technology. There’s a lot of talk about Skyactiv, but most don’t have a clue what it is. It’s a new way of thinking by Mazda as they make use of technology, redesigned suspensions and lighter materials to increase the compression ratio to 14.0 to 1. The result being a much more fuel-efficient gas-vehicle that doesn’t bleed your money dry.
Mazda chose their 2.0L engine in manual mode for the event that puts out 155 hp and 150 lb.-ft. of torque. The manual version is rated at 5.7L/100 km on the highway and I’m happy to report that according to AJAC’s numbers I posted a 5.71L/100 km on the 90 km trip from Chateau Montebello to the PMG facilities in Blainville. I originally thought I was driving in the mid-7 range, but realized I must have not re-set the previous numbers. That seems about right coming from me. It’s amazing to see that sometimes those fuel-economy numbers are really accurate!
As we entered the PMG facilities, PIT (Performance Innovation Transport) was having their fifth anniversary celebration. Part of the celebration was a technology fair that included tire companies, breathalyzer test devices (not for us) and pure energy transport vehicles to name a few. You could also try out a truck simulator or go on a bus tour (more of a talk on a stationary bus) of PMG’s oval track where they test out their trucks. In the end, it was an educational experience and a true showcase of new automotive technologies for the present and future.
The fun didn’t stop there as we were treated to a backstage viewing of PMG’s crash-test area. The security was tight and we weren’t allowed to take pictures or video, but we were able to witness a demo crash with a family of four crash-test dummies inside. It was a head-on collision with a Ford Fiesta at 80km/h that led to a massive thud. We assessed the damage that seemed minimal for the passengers, but for some reason they never described the outcome. Oh well off to the next venture…
We left the PMG facilities to head to our hotel in Saint-Eustache. For this short trip of 16 kms, I was given the opportunity to drive the brand-new Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid. This version of the Accord is not available in Canada at the present time, so I was lucky enough to be able to see what it had to offer.
To give you some details on the Accord Plug-in Hybrid, it’s powered by Honda’s first two-motor hybrid system using Honda’s new Earth Dreams 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with a 124-kW electric motor, as well as an electric drive coming from a 6.7 kWh lithium-ion battery for a total system output of 196 hp. The Accord Plug-in Hybrid just about showcases what the Eco Drive is all about.
Unfortunately, we were in stop-and-go traffic on the Quebec highway, so it wasn’t much fun or testing going on. The Accord Plug-in Hybrid was very quiet and smooth throughout the drive. I can definitely say the brakes worked very well and stopped on a dime when needed all 120 times I practiced that motion.
Day 3 – Saint-Eustache, QC to Montréal, QC
This was the shortest day of the Eco Run that saw us go from our hotel in Saint-Eustache to Montréal’s École Polytechnique workshop. It was another chance for me to test out Mazda’s Skyactiv technology in their new Mazda6.
The new Mazda6 is all-around extraordinary, especially the interior, but that’s for a different article. Its new 2.5L L4 SKYACTIV-G engine didn’t use all of its 184 hp on this trip, but you knew it was there when needed. This Mazda6 also uses an i-ELOOP energy recovery system that stores wasted energy while coasting or braking – perfect for the Eco Run.
I ended up achieving 5.28L/100 km on a drive where I was trying to get to the school at a little bit of a quicker pace as I had to leave right after. I utilized all of my eco-driving tools, but increased my usual highway speeds from 90km to 100km still reaching my destination with great fuel economy scores.
The AJAC Eco Run 2.0 from Ottawa to Montréal was another success story. It was a great showcase for all of the various types of fuel-efficient vehicles that are offered. I only tested out 5 of the 22 vehicles, but in those five I got to experience a diesel, a pure electric, a plug-in hybrid and the innovative Skyactiv technology in both SUV and sedan form.
The technologies utilized today coupled with a better eco-friendly driving technique can help sustain our environment and that was the purpose of this mission. If you took something out of this write-up or the Eco Run in general, I’ve done my part to spread the word. If you’re looking for more information about the various fuel-efficient models in the Eco Run or the technologies in them feel free to contact that respective manufacturer and they will assist you with any questions you have. For now – drive safe and think twice before you aggressively accelerate off that line!
NEW YORK - New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow vision is about to be realized in just a few months. Later this fall, the all-new and completely redesigned taxis are due on the city's streets.
This comes just two years after global car maker Nissan won a bid to redesign and supply the New York City fleet of cabs. Since then the company has been singularly focused on perfecting the vehicle for passengers, drivers, and owners.
Recently the final official milestone meetings for key stakeholders took place in Manhattan. It was a chance for the Taxi & Limousine Commission, drivers and inspectors to react to the Taxi of Tomorrow prototype before production starts.
This meeting, like the many before it, was designed to further refine the vehicle before it is put into service for the more than 600,000 people who hail a cab in NYC each year.
"Seeing the knobs and buttons put in place, seeing the screen where it is, seeing the whole thing come to life is really exciting. And that was just sitting in the back seat. When we started rolling, it really came to life," said Andrew Salkin, deputy commissioner operations, NYC Department of Finance.
Nissan says that from powertrain, to chassis, to interior fit and finish, the Taxi of Tomorrow demonstrates the type of innovative spirit that goes into all Nissan vehicles, on the city streets of New York and around the world.