Winners of Honda Civic Ecoexpedition Surprised Themselves
In the evening of 13 May, the members of the HONDA CIVIC expedition Eco Drive Challenge 2012, having covered approximately 4 500 km, finished in Vilnius, at Nippon Auto, HONDA showroom, right where they started their trip last Monday. The winners of the expedition, Andrius Kriščiūnas and Rytis Markevičius, who romantically named their crew “Žoliapjovės ilgesys” (Lawntrimmer Longing), could hardly believe their result: the average fuel consumption of this trip was only 4.37 l/100 km.
Selected from thousands, the 14 winners went on an unusual ecotrip, driving 7 identical petrol Honda Civiс cars with 1.8 engine capacity and automatic transmission. Not one of the members of this extremely long economic driving expedition imagined the way this adventure would evolve. As many as 5 of 7 crews improved the best result of the Latvian team, which has gone on a similar trip recently and showed the result of 4.73 l/100 km.
The action began from the very first day. The difference of fuel consumption between teams in the first and the third places is mere 1.8 l – the crews drove more than 4400 km each; the winners used 193.1 l of petrol and the crew in the third place used 196.3 l.
Seven long days; 300-800 km drive every day; six countries; constantly changing landscape and… barely 60-70 km/h speed… The road; the maps; the navigation equipment and check-ins at mandatory points… Continuous tracking of vehicle computer data… Steady monitoring of competitors’ actions: who made an efficient breakthrough? How should driving tactics be changed? Car, hotel, car, hotel… And all this time – a person nearby, whom they have never met before… From now on – a close friend to most.
“Žoliapjovės ilgesys” crew members, Andrius and Rytis, who’ve become the winners of the day for four times during the trip (more than any other crew), were quite surprised by the victory themselves. Rytis has mentioned before leaving that he usually drives vehicles of large fuel consumption. After the trip, he very much emphasised the successful teamwork of the crew and was glad Andrius was his partner; they drove together in turns. According to Rytis Markevičius, “on such trip, the role of a navigator is as important as the driver’s”: correctly planned route, just like the partner’s foot on the accellerator, saves every vital fuel drop.
The “Saint Liter” crew members, Albinas Aleksiejūnas and Nerijus Kiseliovas, who took the second place, were extremely excited on the last day of the expedition as they felt they could achieve a very good result. They finished seventh in the first stage of the expedition, and were first in the seventh stage! In Nerijus’ opinion, “Today we used everything we learned during those days, so the vehicle computer showed only 3.9 l/100 km fuel consumption throughout the last stage. We did expect great results today.” The average fuel consumption of this crew during the trip is really close to the winners of the expedition – merely 4.41 km/100 km.
The third place was taken by the most prepared crew, experienced in ecodriving, “800 RPM” (Artūras Žukas and Linas Butkus), who were very close to the second place before the “Saint Liter” crew tore it from them by 0.02 l/100 km in the last stage. Both members of “800 RPM” often participate in ecorallies and it is fair to say they were the only ones to really know the challenges to be anticipated. However, beginners’ luck proved itself again – some of the crews probably exceeded their own capabilities… When asked if he’d repeat this tough trip, Linas, who never lacks enthusiasm, said: “Yes, absolutely; but not tomorrow – and not the day after tomorrow…”
Female drivers of Honda Civic were tired, but in high spirits, too. The member of “Santa’s Little Helpers” crew, Asta Pranaitytė, who took the fourth place, said she was very much engaged in the idea of economically driving her own car. “High Heeled Honda” female crew, which was fifth due to variable driving, sparkled with enthusiasm after the finish. Gentrūna Gabartienė said: “I want to shower, change and go on another expedition!” Her fellow driver, Neringa Jonaitytė, added: “We feel like we’ve won!”
It is true: the unusual expedition is over but all of its members won the most important prize: a dozen new friends and invaluable experience which noone can erase. Andrius Firantas, the automotive sportsman, “Racer Team” crew member, won’t erase it too; though after the finish he hugged his own Honda S2000 sports car, which showed great results at Kačerginė First Lap rally several days before starting the ecotrip, and said: “So good I don’t have to save her fuel…”
Honda Civic expedition was a challenge to all its participants without exceptions, and the results proved anyone can drive economically.