Anyone who drives a 4×4 can probably appreciate that they are not economic cars.
You cannot make what is essentially a rectangular shed on wheels, economic. it will never be aerodynamic and so the drag will burn fuel. Add to that weight and chunkier tyres and it’s pretty much all down hill.
These days some companies are making hybrids and sure they improve their emissions and mpg, but they aren’t really proper 4×4’s and they are very expensive.
So how bad is it….?
Well, over 4 tank refills, with two being predominantly A roads and country lanes (multiple trips into Dartmoor for fun) and the other two being the trip to and from CSK landrovers on motorways, we got two 25mpg’s and two 26mpg’s….
I think it probably is possible to get the standard mpg higher, but that would require road orientations such as removing the roof rack, snorkel, all terrain tyres, winch etc etc. That might get it into high 20’s and maybe even low 30’s. But clearly none of that is of any use as we need all the gear for our trip.
In contrast, over similar journeys my ford fiesta 1.25 will do 44mpg in the countryside and 50mpg on motorways.
And how about the performance? Well, she struggles. On motorways I was doing 65mph, but any reasonable incline would result in the speed bleeding off and me having to use fourth or even third gear. Which is rubbish for mpg.
On A roads I was doing around 55 and to be honest it’s a similar story. I’d struggle to use fifth at all unless it was flat or downhill, while on lanes it was terrible with any hill requiring second gear to get up, at about 20mph!
It’s a lot of elbow work, acceleration and gear changes and definitely under powered.
So now what? Well we will be repeating similar journeys with a slight new addition as well as comparing emissions before and after this add on. Hopefully, the results will speak for themselves as I will post a picture of all the very simple calculations.
UPDATE – we have just been up, around and back from the highlands and have maintained our 25-26mpg, despite added weight, two kayaks on the roof and sustained driving style. There is a slight improvement in performance as well – what’s changed? We have a hydrogen system onboard. Kindly donated by De Verde hydrogen solutions. It’s currently a trial kit really designed for a car, but there are early signs of improvement and we will keep you updated.
There is a lot of controversy about these units. Many would say that to use diesel or petrol to drive electrolysis to produce hydrogen and oxygen to help fuel the car is the impossible perpetual motion. In that sense I’d agree. However people are getting very significant mpg changes (admittedly not as profound in older engines like ours). Again the suggestion is that these are due to driver bias. And yes, this has to be factored in – but that would not produce such a change. Even fiddling with the other systems in the car would not make such a change.
My beeline is perhaps temp and noise are reducing – two large waste energy areas in combustion areas. This energy could then be making it into the drive train instead. The other thing that is hard to deny is people are getting significant changes to their emissions.
All in all I’m really keen to see the final effects and will keep you updated.