DRIVING FROM THE top to the bottom of the country, a MINI Cooper D has set a new fuel economy record for New Zealand.
Using just 3.5 litres per 100km, professional ecodriving consultant Mark Whittaker and motoring scribe Paul Owen travelled 2000km from Cape Reinga to Bluff on 72.1 litres of diesel.
According to Owen, the Cooper D had enough fuel left at the end of the trip to get the pair back to Dunedin, a further 230km north-east of Bluff.
Mark Whittaker said the aim of the exercise was to highlight the potential for cutting New Zealand’s transport related emissions at little or no extra cost.
“In setting this record we are demonstrating that everyone can contribute to reducing emissions by choosing a fuel efficient car and employing simple ecodriving techniques,” Mr Whittaker said.
While Whittaker and Owen had originally targeted an average of 3.0 l/100km, the final 3.5 l/100km figure bested the country's other top fuel miser - the third generation Toyota Prius - with which the Cooper D shares an official fuel economy of 3.9 l/100km.
The Cooper D's figures are thanks to a host of technological innovations borrowed from parent company BMW (including a start-stop system and a thrifty diesel engine from PSA).
BMW Group New Zealand Managing Director, Mark Gilbert said the fuel economy record proves how far diesel technology has come.
“The MINI has proven that new, small clean diesel engines have an important part to play in improving the fuel economy of the New Zealand vehicle fleet,” said Mr Gilbert.
“And the other clear message from this exercise is that it is not only what you drive, but how you drive, that counts,” he said.
Mike Underhill, CEO of New Zealand's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority said that his organisation's research showed that a majority of motorists aren't making the most of each tank of fuel, wasting fuel when they don't need to.
This year's Global Green Car Challenge in Australia saw the MINI Cooper D report an even better result than that achieved in New Zealand, chalking up 3.42 l/100km over 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide.