Imagine this scenario:
It’s a hot and sunny day, with a scorching temperature of 34 degrees, and you’re inside a car cruising along the Tampines Expressway. You probably wouldn’t care about how hot it was outside, because your air condition is turned on, right?
Now, imagine the same scenario, this time, with your air con off.
That was the feeling of shiokness that 60 participants of the 3rd Hyundai-Shell Fuel Economy Challenge felt recently on a Sunday morning. I participated in the 3rd run of this event recently, organized by Hyundai, sponsored by Shell. The Fuel Economy Challenge (let’s call it FEC for short) is not a competition where you drag-race your cars all over Singapore, but rather, one that stretches your car’s economical limit for fuel consumption over a distance of 103 km.
A total of 30 Hyundai cars took part in this, and they were classified into two categories:
– Category A: Hyundai cars 1,600 cc and below (e.g. i30, Avante, Getz, Elantra… etc)
– Category B: Hyundai cars 2,000 cc and above (e.g. i45, Tucson, Santa Fe… etc)
The challenge took place on the 20th November (Sunday), but before we were ready to go, a briefing was held by Hyundai and Shell on Saturday, 19 November. It was also an inspection session to ensure that there were no illegal modifications (in order to save fuel) made to the vehicle. I shall let pictures do the talking most of the time here, so enjoy :)
The briefing touched on the main points of the event for the next day, as well as some tips on how to save fuel during our daily driving. I will be dedicating another separate blog post for that once my papers are over :)
During the briefing, Komoco’s team of service technicians ran through our cars, ensuring that we had no modifications to our engines, our spare tyre present, and no additional installation that might deem unfair to the rest of the participants were present in our cars. And yes, they also pasted on the challenge stickers onto both side doors and the bonnet (I had to drive around Singapore with the sticker on for that Saturday, and it really did attract a lot of attention >.< )
Once they were done, our bonnets were sealed with a sticker, and we were not supposed to open our bonnets anymore until the race was over the next day. The similar seal sticker was used when our fuel tanks were filled just before the race (to prevent anyone from pumping more fuel along the way in order to cheat and win).
By now, most of you must be wondering how the race would be conducted. Let me explain in detail:
– We were due to gather at Komoco Motors (Hyundai) on the Sunday morning for a final briefing and inspection. Cars were required to have at least three-quarters tank full of petrol, for Shell would be sponsoring the remaining until the tank is full.
– In details of 4 (army terms eh), we proceeded to the Shell petrol station opposite Mercedes Benz and BMW (along Alexandra Road) for our fueling. The race then starts.
– After the entire race (4 checkpoints), we headed back to the same Shell station to refill (again) to full tank, and the amount of petrol pumped in would be the amount you burnt during the 103 km.
– From there, the organizing committee matched the odometer and tripmeter’s reading to the amount of fuel pumped after the race is over, and calculate the average fuel consumption. The highest wins.
So, race day…
I attended the race with one of my secondary school buddy Denyna. He acted as my navigator for the day, and yes, also a talking companion just in case I die of boredom. Our names were called, and we lined up for the dispatch to the petrol station!
And here we go…
From there, after our tanks were full, we were issued a Challenge Passport and our first route instruction. The Passport had to be stamped and signed by the marshals at every of the 4 checkpoints, and our odometer and tripmeter readings were recorded.
Our first route slip brought us all the way via Pasir Panjang road (where I was really suay enough to meet every single red light along the way, wasting valuable amounts of petrol! URGH) all the way to West Coast Park McDonalds. The marshals were present at the car park to stamp and sign our passport, and as usual, we attracted heaps of attention to ourselves.
The next slip brought us all the way back West Coast Highway, down Pasir Panjang, onto AYE and finally, into the Devil’s Bend (South Bouna Vista Road). It was a pretty good drive along SBV road as the gradient was in my favour and I practically let my car roll all the way downhill :P But my happiness was short lived as I found out where we were supposed to turn into…
Make a guess…
Managed to guess it?
Yes, KENT RIDGE PARK.
I tell you (those who have been there will know) – THE SLOPE WAS DISGUSTINGLY STEEP. (The picture above is deceiving – it’s probably the only part of the road which was more level.) How to save petrol like that??
But anyways, we made it to the top, took in a bit of scenery (it really is quite nice, overlooking the western port), got our third slip, and we gasped again.
Next checkpoint: CHOA CHU KANG ROAD SHELL PETROL STATION
So, we set off, rolling down the hill, up back onto SBV road and along a series of expressways (AYE, PIE… exit S. Tengah and onto KJE) to reach CCK.
By this time, it was already scorching hot. Considering that we had our windows down until the visor level (which is like 5% only), there was the severe lack of oxygen/air and the interior of the car was burning up. So, at every single traffic light where we stopped, the windows will be wound down to let us ‘breathe’ again. MAN… sweat… sweat… sweat. At this point in time, we couldn’t care less if our sweat stains were all over the car.
So we chopped our passports, and saw our next checkpoint which we almost fainted. EAST COAST PARK CAR PARK F1.
All around the island eh? :P At least this route comprises of all expressways. Took a bite (from the free breakfast Komoco provided), and a pee break, and we set off, ready to be scorched to death again.
KJE… BKE… SLE… CTE… TPE… PIE… ECP…
But yes, anyways we managed to get to ECP in one piece. That was the last checkpoint, and we headed back on ECP towards Komoco Motors.
Got back to the Alexandra pump station where we had our Elantra filled up once more. Surprisingly, for 103 km covered, my car drank only 4.6 litres of petrol! AWESOME EH? (yes, considering the amount of sweat we lost not having air con and driving at a snail’s pace with the over enthusiastic and proper fuel saving techniques)
Race over, with a full tank, we stepped back into the car, and finally turned on the air con.
That felt like HEAVEN.
Back at Komoco, we were treated to a nasi lemak buffet, where we awaited the prize presentation ceremony and the results.
Finally, after a long wait, the results were out. Prizes wise, here they are:
For each category:
Third place: $500 cash/vouchers
Second place: $750 cash/vouchers
Third place: $1,000 cash/vouchers
The overall winner for both categories would also qualify for the grand prize of $2,000 cash/vouchers.
And unfortunately, I did not win anything. But more coincidentally, there were 3 prizes for Category B entrants, and THERE WERE ONLY THREE PARTICIPANTS IN CATEGORY B! Which means they all won something! Congratulations!
Category A winner went to the winner for last year’s Fuel Economy Challenge, Yang Si Cheng and his wife. Congratulations! Si Cheng also made it as the overall winner, walking away with the $2,000 cash vouchers. Si Cheng managed to clinch the top prize with an average fuel economy of 37.96 km/l.
CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? Wow.
Anyway, as a token of appreciation and participation, Hyundai and Shell “rewarded” us with a goodie bag, comprising of quite a bit of stuff (including umbrellas, water bottles…etc) There was even a $50.00 petrol voucher from Shell and a service credit certificate for Komoco the next time we roll our cars back there!
This was my first time participating in such a challenge/race/rally and I must say (sweat and the scorching weather aside), it was really quite exhilarating! Ok maybe the sweat was worth the experience, but I must say I really enjoyed myself. Kudos and thanks to Hyundai and Shell for making this a huge success!
Of course, thanks to Denyna too, my navigator for the day!
If you’re driving a Hyundai and missed the event, do remember to participate in next year’s one! It is truly an experience worth going through and having!
If you’re not driving a Hyundai… hmm… find one, borrow it and participate next year! Or, you could just head down to the showroom and sign for one now :P HAHAHA