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Vans prove eco-driving credentials in 2017 MPG Marathon

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This year’s Fleet World/ALD Automotive MPG Marathon has once again proved that green engine technology is moving on in huge strides – including in the van sector.

MPG Marathon 2017 van winners

(L-R) Neil McIntee and CJ Hubbard with the winning Isuzu D-Max.

Sponsored by RAC Business, ALD Automotive and Crystal Ball, the two-day event – which took place on 3-4 October – tasked drivers with working out the most economical route between a number of waypoints in Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Shropshire, Northants and Warwickshire starting and ending at the prestigious Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel near Coventry.

Within the van entrants, the Isuzu D-Max Utility 4×4 double cab manual piloted by CJ Hubbard of Parkers and VansA2Z editor Neil McIntee took the titles for both the best percentage improvement and overall fuel economy. The winning team showed how it’s possible to improve on manufacturers’ official fuel economy figures through the use of eco driving techniques, with their final figure of 51.2mpg up 26.8% on the official 40.4mpg.

Meanwhile Renault’s Kangoo Van Z.E.33 outperformed its official range and energy consumption figures with Van Fleet World editor Dan Gilkes and co-driver Ray Penford at the helm.

During the 294-mile course, the pair achieved a 10% uplift on the brochure figures in the Kangoo Z.E. with its new longer-range battery, averaging 4.5 miles per kilowatt-hour of electricity, which is 10.0% more than the official NEDC figure and some 50% more than the claimed real-world figure.

Commenting on their achievement, Dan said: “The Renault provides an emissions-free, near silent load carrying platform for urban van users that can easily meet and even exceed its claimed range objectives.”

The event also saw the RAC’s Patrol of the Year once more rise to the MPG challenge, with this year’s Patrol Ambassador, Chris Burgess, succeeding in beating the official figures for his VW Transporter T6 – while it was fully loaded.

Although the rest of the entrants ensured they were carrying as little weight as possible to ensure maximum efficiency, Chris’s van was fully loaded with the 500 parts and tools he usually carries when assisting members at the roadside.

Despite the three-ton load of the van, Chris managed to beat the official manufacturer’s MPG of 45.60 (based on an empty vehicle) and finished with the figure of 46.90, an improvement of 2.85%.

Chris, who has been a patrol for 17 years, said: “I’m really pleased with the result we got from the van, as I was hoping to get around 45mpg which I knew would be tough given it was fully loaded.”

Meanwhile RAC fuel patrol Paul Bird and fuel patrol team manager Wayne Gooch were on hand to accurately measure the volume of fuel in the tanks of the competitors’ vehicles before and after each stage, as well as making sure all the vehicles met manufacturer’s specifications.

And fans of the event were able to track the vehicles’ progress live using telematics data supplied by sponsor Crystal Ball, which broadcast where each car or van was at any given time via the event website.

To view the breakdown of all the winners and find out more about the event, go to www.thempgmarathon.co.uk.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 14 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie works across the magazine portfolio and updates the company websites with daily news, interviews and road test content.