May 17, 2005 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Excerpts from a report at EVWorld.com (Premium Access is $29/year--we encourage you to subscribe)
Rally Showcases +100 MPG and Zero-Petroleum Vehicles Source: NESEA [May 16, 2005]
Greenfield, MA - May 16, 2005 - A modified hybrid vehicle, a Honda Insight driven by Brian Hardegen of Pepperell, MA, has broken the 100-mile-per-gallon barrier over a 150-mile range in the National 2005 Tour de Sol held May 13-16 in Saratoga Springs and Albany, NY.
During the National 2005 Tour de Sol - the 17th annual sustainable-energy and transportation festival and competition -- over 60 hybrid, electric and biofueled vehicles from throughout the U.S. and Canada demonstrated that we have the technology today to power our transportation system with zero-oil consumption and zero climate-change emissions. Each vehicle showed new ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil while reducing harmful pollutants.
"Each year, the Tour de Sol highlights the largest innovations in alternative-energy technology and advanced fuel vehicles, showcasing the future of the clean-energy and transportation industry," said New York State Gov. George E. Pataki. "
"The students, businesses, New York State government officials, auto companies producing advanced vehicles, and people using new hybrid and biofuel vehicles in the Tour de Sol are the new American heroes of the 21st century," said Nancy Hazard, executive director of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association in Greenfield, MA, organizer of the Tour de Sol. "Every American is a winner because of their efforts to design, build and use advanced vehicles that aim to reduce imported oil and climate-change emissions today - offering an alternative solution to the energy and climate-change crises that threaten life as we know it"
"We were very pleased by the performance of the various production vehicles entered in the Monte Carlo-style Rally and 100 MPG Challenge," said James Dunn, CEO of the Center for Technology Commercialization in Westboro, MA. The overall average performance of the 29 Toyota and Honda hybrid sedans exceeded 60 MPG, with a modified Honda Insight from Brian Hardegen of Pepperell, MA, delivering 107 MPG and a "plug-in" Toyota Prius from Valence Corp. in Austin, TX, averaging 102 MPG over a 150-mile range. The average of the 5 biodiesel vehicles was nearly 53 MPG, including the 20 MPG average of the Ford F250 pickup truck entered by Vogelbilt in West Babylon, NY. Two remarkable production vehicles were new Ford Escape hybrid SUVs from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority as well as RadAir in Parma, OH, achieving 35 and 43 MPG, respectively.
The most interesting overall vehicle was the novel "plug-in" hybrid demonstrated by Valence Corp. and EDrive in Monrovia, CA. This is a modified Toyota Prius with a much larger battery pack than the normal Prius, and charged with external grid power. On a 150-mile run, this vehicle achieved 102 MPG on the gasoline used, but also used 9 kilowatt-hours of electricity required to charge the special lithium-ion batteries, which cost less than $1 to recharge. Although this vehicle would be relatively expensive to buy if available today (due to extra battery cost) plug-in hybrids may become a viable future technology.