THE ANNUAL Global Green Car Challenge is shaping up to be a good one this year. Scheduled to begin in Darwin on October 24 and finish 3000km away in Adelaide on October 31, this year's event will see environmentally-friendly production cars battling for the title of "most eco-friendly" alongside the usual experimental solar-powered.
Originally a solar-only competition, the Green Car Challenge now allows mainstream road cars to enter and demonstrate their real-world fuel economy on actual Australian roads, rather than an ADR-mandated test cycle.
Production cars that conform to the ADR81/01 rating are eligible to compete, and so far Holden, Ford, Hyundai, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, Suzuki and Toyota have registered their interest in entering the challenge.
The specific models that each manufacturer intends to enter remain secret for now, but expect to see a lot of diesels (particularly from the Europeans) and Toyota's all-new Prius hybrid lining up on the grid. Holden will likely bring an AFM-equipped Commodore to the party, but a diesel Cruze may be just as likely.
The test route is mostly highway, although the production car-based Eco Challenge category also features an urban cycle that will take place on the streets of Adelaide.
Cars will have their fuel consumptioin precisely monitored throughout the event, and the vehicle that records the greatest improvement over the manufacturer's claimed fuel economy figure will be declared the winner. With many consumers constantly looking for the most frugal car for their money, the 2009 Global Green Car Challenge will certainly be one to watch.