Doctor Diesel

Problems with cycles

Problems With CyclesI have been reading with interest about eco model variants in the last two issues of DC – in particular Ben Hastings’ views in the latest issue of DM@il (341), on the BlueMotion/GreenLine/ECOnetic etc versions of the standard diesel cars. The “book of twaddle”, AKA the EC fuel figures, seems to give eco models an average of between six and ten mpg extra over the standard cars. I’m sure that in an ideal world where we all drive at a constant 50 to 55mph on cruise control, with no lights, heater or air con needed, these figures could be attained, perhaps in some instances bettered. The truth is that “normal” motoring is very different, and I would suggest that most motorists would be lucky over a period of a year to attain half of the projected additional mpg, if that. I feel that, unless a motorist was covering substantial mileage, mostly on motorways, where the best eco benefits can be exploited, buying one of these eco models would not make sense. My Skoda Rapid 1.6 TDI Elegance, with no eco kit, is driven at between 55 to 60mph on the open road and I rarely obtain less than 60 to 65mpg. 

On a completely different matter, that of remapping or add-on module tuning, exceptionally well explored within issue 341, I have on a few occasions used both remaps and add-on modules, all well under my insurers radar, simply because insurers in Northern Ireland will not, in any circumstances, consider insuring modified cars. I have tried them all, even taxi and drink driver specialist insurers, and still get the same negative response. Would it not make sense for the likes of Tunit and other major players in the tuning industry to sit down with the car insurance industry and explain that granny’s little diesel runabout would not be transformed into some sort of projectile that travels at warp speed, which seems to be the slewed understanding of most insurers at present. Keep up the excellent work. 

Eddie Minford

As you say, it all comes down to the farce of the EC test cycles, which don’t relate to most people’s normal motoring. For many people there is, as you rightly say, very often little benefit to be gained with the eco models. Higher gearing, improved aerodynamics, and lowered suspension, don’t deliver for people who don’t cruise at higher speeds. The only area where there is a clearly identifiable gain for everyone is with eco tyres with low rolling resistance, which should deliver gains of four to five per cent in almost all types of motoring.

There are now a few tuning companies that offer tuning aimed specifically at improved fuel economy, along with which usually come modest, but definite, performance gains. I seem to recall a reader saying that their insurance company had accepted this type of tuning without premium loading. A few insurance companies are being more kind towards engine tuning generally, so it might be worth an update and checking a few of them out. I think that LV (Liverpool Victoria in old speak) may be one of these. All the best, and many thanks,

The Doc

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