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Hydrogen-Boost June 2005 Newsletter


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Tour de Sol Results


          The weather was perfect and the traffic was acceptable on Friday the 13th of May for the Monte Carlo style Rally mileage competition.  I had an arrangement with a local newspaper editor to meet with his reporter at the start line of the Rally and carry him along for an hour or so, to witness the rally and get publicity for Tour de Sol.  We met at the start/finish line at Stewarts shop off exit 13N of I87.  We went through the official process of checking in, including filling the fuel tank to the very top, checking the tire pressure, and sealing the fuel filler cap and fuel filler door.  I insisted that the officials pay close attention to published rules and procedures so there would be no doubt or question of the procedures being fulfilled to the start.  I expected to get such good mileage that I would be accused of cheating when I finished. 

At first the start line official wanted to bypass the sealing off of my gas cap because he couldn’t find his glue/silicon sealer, which was to be used to glue a business card to the gas cap and to the metal around it, preventing any entry.  I insisted that the seal be installed so there would be no question.  A second seal was installed on the filler door.  This was a number of strips of overlapping duct tape smoothed over the filler door and signed by the official.  Any tampering of the tape would be obvious at the finish line.  The signature spanned across all overlaps of the tape.

We had planned to start at 9 AM but the official procedures delayed our start until about 9:40.  Because the newspaper reporter wanted to ride only for part of the rally we had to change our planned route to accommodate his wishes.  My wife the navigator, who has never been trained to navigate, was busier than a one legged field goal kicker and didn’t have time nor enough hands to do the logging paperwork of the rally, and keep us from getting lost at the same time.  We did get lost for a while but we just stopped and I deciphered the map and road signs to find our way again.

Two hours later we had made it to one road that was part of our planned route and back to the start/finish line to drop off the reporter.  Most of that loop was on unfamiliar roads, which is not what you want in a mileage competition.  But this was more like real driving conditions so I couldn’t complain.  On this first loop we did have a run-in with a road work crew, which got my temper charged up a little.  Two bad the charge couldn’t go into the battery, because on our second loop the battery went dead and we wasted ten minutes getting help to get us going again.

The pause at the start/finish line, to drop off the reporter, took longer than expected because the finish line had officially just opened and the press was there.  I pulled in to drop off the reporter and the officials wanted to do the finish line procedures.  I told them I was only half done and they would have to wait.  The press did jump in and did an interview and took pictures.  My reporter got out and a half hour later I resumed my rally.

The second half of the rally was mostly uneventful because we chose major routes to travel, which gave us more traffic to contend with and forced us to maintain a higher speed than planned.  We also had that incident of having a dead battery caused by the hydrogen generator running when the engine was off.  This is a big no-no in our instruction manual and I had planned on rewiring the system to prevent that the previous week but got too busy.

Our route took us 160 miles according to our odometer, which was off by 5 miles because I had installed slightly smaller tires than stock.  Our route took us through 12 villages and cities in 155 miles for an average of one city per 13 miles.  I would call that pretty normal average driving conditions.  The speed limits ranged from 30 mph to 55 mph, except in school zones, where it was 15-20 mph.  We did no highway driving whatever on this rally as other competitors did.  We had close to 50 stop signs and traffic lights and plenty of miles of city traffic on our route to claim that we had pretty normal traffic conditions.

Our driving techniques were what you would expect for a mileage competition.  We used almost every technique in the Hydrogen Boost manual expect drafting, because we never got on the highway where drafting would help.  Yes, we did as the rules suggested, we packed in as much fuel as we could before the start.  I filled the tank up the night before.  I shook the car and jumped up and down on the bumper to get all the air bubble out, as suggested by the rules.  I even insured that our start line fill up was done with my car tilting down away from the filler tube.  And yes when I pulled in to the finish line I first pulled up to the pump that had my car tilted the other way.  Of course this was done because this is how every other car pulled in.  The normal traffic for that station was such that you had to pull in that way unless you balked traffic and interfered with normal flow, which was in from the main road and out onto a side road where there was a traffic light to help you get back onto the main road.

I knew that the original finish line fill-up would be inaccurate but I wanted to make a point to the officials that they were not getting an accurate mileage calculation.  My first fill-up took 0.8 gallons, which calculated to an average mileage of about 200 mpg.  Even I was flabbergasted but I was not the only one who would not accept that calculation.  I pointed out to the officials the problem and said, “Let’s pull the car down there, where I filled up before and let’s fill up again.”  We did this and it took on another 0.4 gallons, but this was not enough either.  Though it would have calculated to 133 mpg, I said, “Wait we’re not done yet.  The rules encouraged us to shake the car and put as much in as we could.”  So I got on top of the bumper and jumped up and down and shook the car to get all the bubbles out.  Then we took the pump again and put in another 0.2 gallons, for a total of 1.424 gallons, for an average of 112 mpg.  After doing a ten mile odometer calibration run and using 10.28 miles on the odometer to do it, we calibrated the real distance traveled on the rally to be 155.3 miles.  This made our real mileage 109.1 mpg. 

After that the official went through the vehicle “with a fine toothed comb” to find out how I must have cheated.  By this time the best hybrid had recorded about half that mileage.  After examining under the hood and inside the computer readout on the Auterra Dyno-Scan, they finally gave up the quest for cheating proof.  They wanted to figure a way to dock me for shutting off my engine while still moving (Read about the porpoising technique in our newsletters.) but I objected that the Prius hybrid also shuts off its engine while moving so how could you dock me in a competition with them.

          The official awards ceremony was Saturday at 3 PM and I was called up to get in lie for an award.  I expected that the official finally dropped their objections to porpoising and would award me the best in show trophy.  When I was called up I was given an award for “most unique vehicle” which I though quite inappropriate since I was driving the most common vehicle there.  My mileage was announced as 99 mpg and I figured I was docked for porpoising.  I called the official the next day and he said they had originally made a mistake adding up the three fill-up receipts during the calculations and that I only got 99 mpg.  He said that we had on one slip used the cent instead of gallons.  I objected, but without having the slips in front of me I could not make accusations.  Of course when gas sells at over $2 a gallon the cents would have been more than the gallons.  After seeing the official results I saw that they also only credited me with only 150.1 miles instead of 155.3.  They must have mistakenly done the calibration adjustment twice.  Regardless of any mistakes made in calculating the mileage, the reported official results were that The Hydrogen Boost Saturn SL1 achieved 99.53 mile per gallon.  The only vehicle to officially achieve more mileage was a plug-in hybrid that used both electrical power from the wall and gasoline from the pump.  You can notice on the official results that this entrant is listed twice, once at 102.13 mpg and again at 67.47 mpg.  I can only assume that the 102.13 mpg was the mileage based on just the gasoline added to the tank at the finish line and the 67.47 mpg was the equivalent mpg after the electrical power to recharge the batteries was converted to gallons of gasoline.  I haven’t seen the formula that the officials used to calculate how many gallons of gas were equivalent to the kilowatt hours used to charge the batteries.  Whatever the formula was I know that it favors the electrical power input.  2004 results reported an electric “vehicle” achieving 1099.5 mpg.

          There was at least one modified hybrid that was credited with 94.73 mpg, but as far as I know, none of the other entrants including this one, were required to fill their fuel tank at the finish line with three attempts in different positions and with jumping up and down on the bumper to shake out the bubbles.  Regardless of the finish line procedures, technically the plug-in hybrid that is listed twice and officially credited with beating the Hydrogen Boost Saturn should have been disqualified or told to go back out and drive around some more, because they did not cover the minimum distance required by the rules.

          That’s enough about the bad news.  If you want to see the chart of the official results of the Tour de Sol Monte Carlo style rally mileage competition, you can see the full chart at http://www.bestrateofclimb.com/montecarlo-results.htm

          If you want a brief summary, here it is:


Entrant                   Vehicle                                     Mileage


M. Kohler               Plug Hybrid Priys              102.13

F. Giroux                Hydrogen Boost Saturn       99.53

B. Hardegen            HybridMod Insight             94.73

C. Sullivan              Insight Hybrid                   81.74

M. Lewis                 Insight Hybrid                   79.12

Glynn                     VW Biodiesel                    76.82

H. Marsolais            Smart Biodiesel                74.72

M. Houle                 Civic Hybrid                     74.52

Jack Lee                 Insight Hybrid                   73.75

E. Diefenbach         Insight Hybrid                   72.31

M. Kohler               Plug Hybrid Prius               67.47

M. Bardall               Prius Hybrid                     64.23

A. Lane                   Prius Hybrid                     62.49

J. Laughlin              Civic Hybrid                     61.17

J. McConville          Prius 2 Hybrid                   58.99

Rw. Pichardo          Insight Hybrid                   58.87

Claude                   Insight Hybrid                   58.82

S. McAusland           Insight Hybrid                   56.87

E. Seal                   Civic Hybrid                     56.37

R. Stratton              Prius 2 Hybrid                   56.32

S. Greenbaum         Civic Hybrid                     53.65

Deb Van Batt           Insight Hybrid                   52.58

Herbert                  Prius 2 Hybrid                   51.52

B. Gillett                Prius Hybrid                     51.06

C. Lawrence           Prius 2 Hybrid                   47.58

S. Tanenholtz         Prius Hydrid                      47.29

G. LaBelle               Prius 2 Hybrid                   46.76

A. Walker               Prius 2 Hybrid                   46.58

E Packer                 Prius 2 Hybrid                   45.12

A Fiffick                 Escape Hybrid                  42.88

M. Grisborne           Prius 2 Hybrid                   41.95

CVB                        Prius 2 Hybrid                   40.79

J. Van Duesem        VW Pass Biodiesel             38.78

Dave                      Escape Hybrid                  35.03

J. Murphy               Lexus 400 Hybrid              28.09

C. Vogel                 Ford F250 Biodiesel           19.88

C. Shelton              Mercedes Biodiesel           Fun Run

J. Schnebly             Prius 2 Hybrid                   DNF







Hydrogen Boost versus Hybrid Technology


          After competing in the Tour de Sol’s Monte Carlo style Mileage competition against the “leading edge” of technologies, I figured it was time to do another analysis of mileage gains versus cost for the competition’s technology.  Last year I analyzed the cost versus benefit of the Honda Civic vs the Honda Civic hybrid vehicles, since that was the only model on the roads last year that could be compared.

          This year there are at least four models of hybrid vehicles that have comparable non-hybrid models.  Using EPA’s mileage numbers and manufacturers’ suggested retail price as benchmarks, I did the following analysis for this year’s models.  All basic models compared were the basic standard shift model with no additional options.


Honda Civic sedan   36 mpg city   40 mpg ave.            44 mpg highway     $13,260

Honda Civic hybrid 48 mpg city   47.5 mpg ave.        47 mpg highway      $19,900          7.5 mpg diff  18.8% diff     $6640


Honda Accord         sedan  26 mpg city   30 mpg ave.  34 mpg highway      $16,265

Honda Accord hybrid         29 mpg city   33 mpg ave.  37 mpg highway      $30,140          3.0 mpg diff  10% diff        $13,875


Ford Escape SUV     24 mpg city   26.5 mpg ave.        29 mpg highway      $19,425

Ford Escape hybrid 36 mpg city   33.5 mpg ave.        31 mpg highway      $28,455          7.0 mpg diff  26.4% diff     $9030


Chevy Silverado PU 16 mpg city   18.5 mph ave.        21 mpg highway      $19,040

Chevy Silverado hybrid 18 mpg city 19.5 mpg ave.    21 mpg highway      $30,345          1.0 mpg diff  5.4% diff       $11,305


Average for all four vehicles                                                                                                        15.15% diff   $10,212.50


Averaging all four vehicles we get a 15.15% increase in average mileage for an average price difference of $10,212.50.  Now there is an idea of where the “leading edge” of technology is taking us. 


If you are the typical environmentally friendly “Yuppy,” you are spending a whopping $10,000 to improve your gas mileage by 15%.  Of course no average environmentally friendly “Yuppy” would consider “saving the environment” by keeping their old vehicle for a couple more years and installing the Hydrogen Boost system to achieve that 15% increase in mileage for a whole lot less money.  Nor would that average environmentally friendly “Yuppy” ever consider changing his driving habits slightly to get a 20-40% increase in mileage without any extra hardware. 

But lucky for us who have to breath the air spewed out by these “environmentally friendly” Yuppy’s vehicles, we can save most of the $10,000 cost of that so called “leading edge” technology, still drive our SUVs, and also save the cost of a lot of otherwise wasted fuel, by simply installing and implementing the Hydrogen Boost system.  Or if we really care about our environment and our wallets, we could all drive a reasonable size vehicle like the Honda Civic, or Accord, or Ford Escape, or if we need a work truck a Chevy Silverado, and implement the Hydrogen Boost system, which will pay for itself long before our vehicle is paid off.




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