And according to the winning criteria – the best percentage improvement over the manufacturers’ claimed fuel consumption figures – the victor was the 6.2-litre V8 Holden Special Vehicles Maloo utility, which averaged 7.74litres/100km for the journey, driven by journalist Joshua Dowling and co-driven by HSV engineer Gerry Bechet. It also used the most fuel of any car on the event and emitted the most carbon dioxide emissions.
The event ended with a series of loops around the wide and uncluttered streets of Adelaide and its eastern suburbs as well as a foray into the nearby Adelaide Hills. Average speed was about 30km/h which at least provided a little balance to the rest of the trip’s wide open highways.
As has become customary, the temperature hovered uncomfortably above 30C and as is customary most contestants drove with their windows up and air-conditioners off.
Although The Maloo ute was the official winner, traditional market rival Ford took the honours for the most economical car of the Challenge, the light car class diesel-powered Fiesta ECOmetic driven by Peter McKay and environmental magazine writer Carolyn Barry. The car is not on sale in Australia at present but is expected to go on sale in December and on the Darwin to Adelaide journey it used only 3.13litres/100km.
The Fiesta was followed in second, third and fourth places in the overall economy stakes by the team of three MINI Cooper Ds in the next larger small car class. The 1.6-litre turbocharged MINIs had a best of 3.42litres/100km and 92 grams of CO2 per kilometre, which is 12 per cent better than the official claimed consumption figure and half that of the HSV Maloo ute.
The Global Green Challenge was combined with the Darwin to Adelaide solar car race and this year the Japanese Tokai Challenge team wrested the title away from the Dutch Nuon team.
And to round out the alternative fuel credentials of the event, the American-built Tesla electric sports car extended the world record distance for electric cars between charges by 71km to 501km.
After days in hot cars the usual closing ceremony of dunkings in the Victoria Square fountain continued; a wet T-shirt competition is one way to finish a heat soaked event.
With: BMW Australia