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VW Polo eco-challenge helps QLD flood-relief

Frugal: The economy of the VW Polo TDI was put to the text in the name of flood assistance.

Mega mileage from frugal diesel results in VW contributing to disaster relief

11 Feb 2011

VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia has raised $3280 for the Queensland flood relief courtesy of an economy challenge conducted in Melbourne this week.

The challenge involved members of the automotive press attempting to drive as far from Tullamarine airport as possible on a litre of diesel.

The cars used were standard-specification $22,350 Polo TDI Comfortlines fitted with a 66kW/230Nm 1.6-litre common rail four-cylinder turbo-diesel engines and mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

To help eke out every last kilometre, Volkswagen Australia promised participants that it would donate $10 for every kilometre the 1115kg Polo TDI drove on the litre of diesel.

However the $3280 total raised would have been around one-third higher if the trio of magazine journalists who had promised to attend the Polo economy charity challenge showed up.

Of the nine participants, it was GoAuto’s representative who managed to travel the furthest, achieving 47.2km, to average just 2.1 litres per 100km.

The next best result was 44km, representing an average of 2.3L/100km.

GoAuto thus raised the most amount of money, at $472.

Achieving 47.2km from one litre of fuel gives the Polo TDI a theoretical range of 2124km from a 45-litre tank. The official average combined figure is 4.7L/100km.

However there was controversy in the final run of the event (it was held over three periods to accommodate the various media), since GoAuto was forced to redo the challenge after a possible fault was identified with one of the Polos. In that initial drive the TDI only managed 30.2km.

One rival journalist claimed that GoAuto enjoyed an unfair advantage due to a warmer engine and familiarity with the course as a result of the rerun in another Polo TDI.

Figures released by Volkswagen estimate that a Polo TDI driven normally and with no regard for economy would only go 17.2km on a litre of diesel driving conscientiously that figure would rise to 21.2km/l, while a ‘super eco’ attitude may raise that to 25km/l.

Rally ace Ed Ordynski provided a benchmark figure of 38.5km/l prior to the event, although on the challenge with GoAuto he bettered that by almost 2km. Volkswagen spokesperson Jenny Wu said that the company was thrilled with the overall results and the amount of money raised, adding that further similar challenges may be in the pipeline due to the arrival of new BlueMotion and BlueMotion Technologies models earmarked for models such as the Golf and Touareg II.

“Even though the fourth group was cancelled in the last minute, this amount is more than we could ever expect… Volkswagen Group Australia is proud to hand this amount over to the affected flood victims,” Ms Wu said.

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