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WesBank Fuel Economy Tour

We’re competing in the Fuel Economy Tour, a local initiative partnered with WesBank and FNB to collect real-world fuel consumption figures #WOWnews

It’s a ‘GO! GO! GO!’, for anyone that has watched F1 you know what these words mean… it’s race time. And race time it is indeed. We’re taking part in the first Fuel Economy Tour for the next week. Our trusty steed, none other than a Toyota Aygo.

WesBank and  FNB (First National Bank) have joined forces to sponsor a Fuel Economy Tour around South Africa for five days. The aim is to provide realistic fuel consumption figures of vehicles entered. Real world economy data is often litres off the claimed figures manufactures tout, the Fuel Economy Tour aims to bridge the gap.

The event map follows the major routes used by drivers around the country, mainly over the holiday seasons as we cover plenty of kilometers to get to the place where we can activate our Out Of Office auto reply and put our feet up.

Day 1 runs from Johannesburg to Durban, day 2 from Durban to East London, day 3 from East London to Port Elizabeth, day 4 from Port Elizabeth to George and day 5 brings the event to a close with the final leg from George to Cape Town, where the most fuel efficient brand will be revealed after 2 500 km of testing.

Manufacturers’ claimed fuel consumption figures are often obtained in laboratories that mimic utopian conditions, leaving motorists dumbfounded and annoyed when their vehicle misses the mark in excess of several litres.

Disappointing fuel consumption from new vehicles is the most common cause for complaints by South African motorists according to recent research done by Ipsos. Poor fuel economy was a number one complaint for 11 vehicle categories, from compact hatchbacks to bakkies in their latest survey.

WesBank and FNB are sponsoring the Fuel Economy Tour to obtain realistic fuel consumption figures. This data will be invaluable for new or pre-owned vehicle buyers as they do their research on which model to buy. It is a helping hand that WesBank and FNB always like to extend to their clients and future potential customers.

Executive Head of WesBanks’s Motor Division Ghana Msibi says, “WesBank. Long-time market leader in vehicle and asset finance in South Africa is a perfect fit for this sponsorship as it will not only provide a valuable source of fuel economy data for consumers but relates directly to the participating vehicles and OEMs and dealers behind them. We are also pleased that this is a joint partnership with FNB as it shows that when strong brands collaborate it is a value-add situation with benefits for all stakeholders.”

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) was supportive of this planned Fuel Economy Tour when it was presented at a meeting with their senior executives last year.

Fuel Economy Tour SA

CEO of Retail and Private Banking at FNB and RMB Private Bank Raj Makanjee added: “The companies I control are the link to money management where transport costs, particularly rising fuel costs, are an increasing factor in the monthly budgets of both private motorists and businesses. Therefore, we are very pleased to be a partner in this Fuel Economy Tour which will have real benefits for our customers as it stresses the importance firstly of buying a fuel-efficient vehicle and secondly driving using the fuel-saving tips that will be highlighted through this event.”

How will the Fuel Economy Tour obtain accurate and realistic figures?

The overall organizer of the South African motoring event is Wilken Communication Management, with former multiple Motorsport champion Charl Wilken as the Project Leader and Operations Director.

Willie du Plessis and William Haddad will be assisting Charl Wilkens’ for the event. “Du Plessis will set the route, compile the road book and run the event while Haddad will be responsible for all things technical regarding the vehicles,” says Wilken.

“The event will be staged under the auspices of Motorsport South Africa which controls all competitive driving on public roads, but we are encouraging entrants and competitors to consider it more as a form of holiday trip with the camaraderie and spirit one sees on the Italian Mille Miglia rally for classic cars. Above all we want those involved in the WesBank Fuel Economy Tour to enjoy themselves.” Wilken added.

Rules and regulations

The rules are straight forward ensuring that the event is run as close as possible to the real-world conditions in which a normal everyday motorist would drive the route.

The regulation caters for all passenger cars and light commercial vehicles which will be divided into classes based on the engine being petrol or diesel, turbocharged or normally aspirated as well as their engine capacity.

There won’t be an overall winner, but class winners with brands having an opportunity to win a special reward for the brand with the lowest fuel consumption for three vehicles running in different classes.

No equipment such as external odometers may be installed in the vehicles and the co-driver may not make use of a computer.

The speed of competing vehicles must average out on each section and will be set to 10km below the speed limit. Estimated arrival times at turn-offs and checkpoints will be marked on the road book for each specific car to make navigating simple. Penalties in the form of litres of fuel for late arrival at checkpoints but no penalty for early arrival. (This will be monitored to ensure the fuel consumption data the vehicles deliver are relevant to everyday driving).

All road traffic regulations must be obeyed. A Ctrack device will monitor the progress of each vehicle in terms of correct route, speeding and other traffic law infringements. A dashcam will be fitted to monitor driving behavior such as crossing over solid lanes. Fuel caps will be sealed and resealed by organisers each time the vehicle is refueled.

There is no limit on the number of people who may drive the car provided they do at least one day’s drive. Co-drives must complete the whole event. Other people may be carted in the competing vehicle provided indemnities are filled in and not exceed the number of occupants permitted to travel in a specific vehicle.

“We want to keep the WesBank Fuel Economy Tour in partnership with FNB as simple as possible so that the results are representative of vehicles driven over these routes, often during holiday periods so that we can compile a set of fuel consumption data that will be increased year by year.” Concludes Wilken.

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Image: Motorsport

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