Electric Cars Make Strong Showing at Sixth Michelin Challenge Bibendum

Fifty percent of competing vehicles were electric drive with majority of these powered by lithium battery technology, demonstrating 300 km ranges.

Published: 14-Oct-2004

QingYuan electric car developed by Tianjing Electrical Vehicle Research Center Out of 150 vehicles presented at Challenge Bibendum 2004, 74 competed, more than 50% of which were electric vehicles (battery- or fuel cell-powered) and a significant number of internal combustion engines using biofuels: 38 cars, 20 two-wheel vehicles, 1 truck and 15 buses. 

China was strongly represented with 43 vehicles enrolled, including 20 two-wheel vehicles and 15 buses.

Vehicle performance was assessed on the basis of the following criteria and tests: acceleration, braking, slalom, rally, noise, fuel efficiency, local pollution, CO2 emissions, autonomy, crash tests (Please refer to the detailed table in annex).

Average energy consumption was less than 5 liters per 100 km (or equivalent) for cars, with some vehicles achieving 3 liters/100 km. Diesel was highly competitive in this field, just like diesel hybrid, while very good results were also recorded for gasoline-powered hybrids. In other words, what we are witnessing here is fuel efficiency convergence for the different technologies.

Meanwhile, electric vehicles continue to post remarkable progress notably on the back of lithium-ion batteries that deliver range in excess of 300 km.

The carmakers who attended Challenge Bibendum 2004 also showed they could optimize conventional engines as well as propose realistic alternatives.  Most fuel cell-powered vehicles presented this year for example post significant progress in terms of performance, reliability and integration of technologies.

With respect to local pollution, the internal combustion engines achieved further substantial progress. It is worth noting that one gasoline vehicle and one 4X4 hybrid SUV achieved pollution emissions which are so tiny they are almost unquantifiable. Another strong message that came out of this sixth Challenge Bibendum was that three vehicles targeted at the Chinese market meet Euro 4 emission standards, which gives them a key competitive advantage at a time when the Beijing government is about to apply Euro 3 standards.
When taking a closer view at CO2 emissions, overall performance data based on the well-to-tire cycle* (that takes into account the CO2 emissions resulting from the production of the energy used), show that biofuels score particularly well. Turning to hydrogen and electricity, performance levels depend on the mode of energy production.

Noise was generally lower and silence is, in fact, no longer the preserve of electric vehicles.

Technical progress goes hand in hand with active safety improvements.  Most Challenge Bibendum vehicles post excellent braking results, both for cars and buses.

Many two-wheel electric vehicles (a solution for the future of urban mobility - especially in China), as well as many electric buses on show at Challenge Bibendum posted outstanding results.

To conclude, current clean vehicles are efficient, safe and fun to drive. Once again, event participants confirmed that Challenge Bibendum is an outstanding experimental arena to compare different energies and technologies. An International Symposium will conclude this three-day event dedicated to sustainable mobility in Shanghai.

* We have chosen to use the expression “well-to-tire” as opposed to “well-to-wheel” more traditionally used by experts, since it expresses the very important role played by tires in road mobility and in the energy performance of a vehicle, and thus CO2 emissions. Note that one out of five fuel tanks (in the case of passenger cars) is consumed by the phenomenon of tire rolling resistance, which highlights the significance of conducting research in this field

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