Sure, it was an effective way to showcase a fuel-efficient vehicle and an eco-friendly blend of gas, but one big reason why four men drove two cars from Calgary to Vancouver on single tanks of gas was simply to stroke the male ego.
Last year, Halifax Volkswagen dealer Mike Velemirovich drove a Volkswagen TDI more than 1,100 kilometres from Halifax to Montreal to see his favourite hockey team play, the Canadiens.
This year, Calgary Volkswagen dealer Jerry Sturko challenged him to a repeat, but this time from Calgary to Vancouver to catch a Flames-Canucks game.
“I said to him, ‘Well, (driving from Halifax to Montreal) is not bad, I guess, but the real test would be to take these TDIs over the Rocky Mountains (from Calgary) to Vancouver,’” said Sturko.
“It kind of grew out of guys being guys, basically, into the idea of doing this on a scale to really test and showcase the vehicles,” said James Tansey, one of the four drivers and president of Offsetters, a Vancouver-based company that works to reduce climate impact.
Along with Vancouver Volkswagen dealer Jim Tompkins, a consultant and a videographer, the group — dressed in hockey and referee jerseys — met in Calgary and piled into two Volkswagen TDIs at 4:30 a.m. on April 7.
Running on a blend of diesel and five per cent biodiesel, the two cars arrived in Vancouver 15 hours later — just in time to see the Canucks defeat the Flames.
“We (used) less than five litres per 100 kilometres, which is about double the fuel efficiency of the average North American fleet,” said Tansey, who also emphasized the importance of driving intelligently by not accelerating and breaking hard, for example.
The journey, which included a few spontaneous stops, totalled 1,075 kilometres. One of the cars was down to just one and a half litres of fuel upon arriving in Vancouver.
What would they have done if they didn’t make it?
“Well, we would have been stuck at the side of the road and we would have been testing Volkswagen’s emergency support service,” said Tansey with a laugh.
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