Article by Mike Schlee, photos courtesy AJAC

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AJAC London to Brighton Eco Run

Beginning today, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), in partnership with the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) and Natural Resources Canada, will embark on a three-day fuel-efficiency and technology demonstration dubbed the “Eco-Run”. Beginning in Brighton, Ontario, the Eco-Run will visit several cities across southern Ontario before ending in London, Ontario on May 17, 2012.

Loosely based on England’s historic London-to-Brighton run for vintage cars, this challenge will focus on “green” cars, running between the Brighton and London, with stops at several waypoints in southern Ontario. The point of the run is to demonstrate and educate consumers on the latest advancements in automotive fuel efficiency technology. Fifteen manufacturers will be showcasing twenty-three vehicles, a mix of hybrids, pure electric vehicles, diesels and other groundbreaking technologies on the Eco-Run. The vehicles included in the run are:

  • Buick Regal e-Assist
  • Chevrolet Cruze Eco
  • Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Fiat 500
  • Ford Escape
  • Ford Focus Electric
  • Honda CR-Z
  • Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
  • Kia Optima Hybrid
  • Mazda3 SkyActiv
  • Mazda CX-5 SkyActiv
  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV
  • Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG
  • Mini Cooper
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Porsche Panamera Hybrid
  • Smart ForTwo Electric Drive
  • Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • Lexus GS 450h
  • Passat TDI Clean Diesel

    With gas prices on the rise, and expected to hit an all-time high this summer, the timing for this event couldn’t be better. The overall goal of the event is to educate and inform consumers on the issues and choices facing us as a society today when it comes to alternative energy use. The intent is to encourage the “handprint” vs. “footprint” philosophy of making a difference through educated choices and behaviour. The Eco-Run will be conducting five press conferences over the three-day event and will be making stops at a few community colleges and universities to promote their respective fuel-efficient projects (a complete schedule of events can be found at the end of this article).

    Assisting in this event will be journalists who are members of AJAC, including yours truly. We will be tasked with driving the 23 participating vehicles from one community to the next, as well as being available for questions and/or comments during the various stops along the way. If you are able to make it out to one of the stops listed below, come on out and say hello and check out some of the latest “green” offerings on the market today. If you are not able to attend in person, you can look for live updates during the Eco-Run and ask questions through Twitter, @mikeschlee or @autos_ca. As well, there will be live gallery postings on Facebook throughout the event, as well as discussions on our online forums regarding this event, the vehicles, and the green technology behind them. For more details on the event or the vehicles being showcased during the event, you can visit

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012
    9:00 am: Meet and greet with journalists, politicians and community representatives
    9:30 am: Press conference with Mayor Mark Walas, CAA and Natural Resources Canada.
    9:45 am: Ready, set, go! Mayor Mark Walas officially launches each car at 1-minute intervals
    10:30 am: Stop at CAA Office in Cobourg for coffee. Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier may be present.
    12:00 pm: Lunch stop at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa
    1:00 pm: Press conference at UOIT
    1:30 pm: Tour of UOIT facilities (climatic wind tunnel, multi-axis shaker table, four post shaker, etc).
    3:00 pm: Departure for Toronto via highway 401.
    4:00 pm: Arrival at Ashtonbee Campus, 75 Ashtonbee Road (Warden north of Eglinton Ave.),
    Centennial College in Toronto. AV presentation and welcome remarks by Dean Alan McLelland, followed by walking tour.

    Wednesday, May 9th
    9:30 am: Press conference at Centennial College.
    10:30 am: Departure for Distillery District.
    11:45 am: Evergreen Brick Works – Environmental Centre.
    1:00 pm: Press Conference – Evergreen Brick Works.
    2:30 pm: Departure for Hamilton via city streets and secondary roads.
    3:30 pm: Coffee stop at Oakville CAA store.
    4:30 pm: Arrival at MacMaster University in Hamilton.

    Thursday, May 10th
    9:30 am: Press conference at MacMaster University.
    10:30 am: Departure for London via secondary roads
    12:00 pm: Lunch stop at Bronsons Restaurant & Grill in Woodstock.
    1:00 pm: Press conference, including greetings from Mayor Pat Sobeski in parking lot at Finkle and Simcoe Sts.
    1:30 pm: Departure for London via secondary roads.
    3:00 pm: Arrival at Fanshawe College’s Centre for Applied Transportation Technology (CATT), 1764 Oxford St. E., London
    3:15 pm: Final press conference (at CATT), with greetings from London Mayor Joe Fontana and area politicians, followed by tours of CATT facilities and wrap-up reception.

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