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Audi Fuel Efficiency Challenge 2022 - SG Family Man & Ignition Labs Take First Place

Updated: Dec 4, 2022


SG Family Man & Ignition Labs take first place is the 2022 Audi Fuel Efficiency Challenge, featuring a range of Audi models such as the Audi A3 and Q3, showing just how fuel efficient Audi cars can be - and that a luxury car can also produce good fuel economy. SG Family Man's Co-Founder, Xinying, shares her experience following her inaugural press drive with Audi Singapore, and one of her greatest highlights since the birth of SG Family Man.


Drive from Singapore to Hat Yai with Audi Singapore

Competitive by nature, hearing that the trip was to take place in the form of a fuel economy challenge was exciting - but it was to be done in pairs - if only I had a competent teammate who shared the same drive to win. Thankfully, I was paired with Jonathan Lim from Ignition Labs, a serial car fanatic who was immensely motivated to go for the win.

The rules of this challenge were clear - drive from Singapore to Hat Yai, Thailand, without refuelling - The team with the best fuel economy score wins. Given that the journey to Hat Yai and back was run in an “own time, own target” manner and not in convoy, it opened up room for both exploitation but also mistakes. Should we sacrifice our fuel economy and time for some exploration along the way? Or should we sacrifice toilet breaks and air-conditioning for better fuel economy? It seemed like one of those “all in or nothing” moments.


How would we fare on this trip? How fuel efficient was the car we were driving for this challenge? Could we make it to Hat Yai, Thailand from Singapore on just 1 tank of fuel? We would soon find out.


DAY 1 - Singapore to Hat Yai, Thailand

The first car assigned to our team was the Audi A3 1.0L Sedan. Jon and I named our team, “Spottiswoode Squad” as we both incidentally live in the same neighbourhood. First agenda of the day - refuelling our tanks (and our stomachs as well). All cars were instructed to gather at Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim, Shell Petrol Station at 4:00 am on Wednesday morning, 28th of October. Thereafter, our tanks were sealed with an Audi sticker. From this point onwards, we were free to make our way to the Thai borders.


Competition

Prior to this challenge, I had the sentiment that everyone else was going to prioritise a holiday experience over victory. Turns out, everyone was in it to win it. At the Shell station, all sorts of tactics emerged. One team had their tires pumped and not long later there was a train of cars waiting to do the same. Another whipped out some tape to close the gaps in their bonnet. Unbothered and determined, Jon and I stuck to our plan and only had our tires pumped.


The Start of Our ”Dark” Journey

We took off about 30 minutes later than the rest of the cars as we were filming. 10 minutes into our journey, a tire pressure warning popped up on our dashboard. As we had not reset the on-board tire pressure monitor, we decided to ignore it - as it must have been due to the pumping of tires earlier.


About a quarter into our journey, we managed to catch up to the Audi A3 Hatchback piloted by James and Sean from Oneshift and Horizon Driver’s Club respectively.. Perhaps due to boredom, Jon decided it was time to go a bit faster than we would have liked on this challenge, which affected fuel economy and our numbers fell to 23.2 km/l.


Fuel Economy

As the more experienced driver, Jon took charge of our fuel economy strategies for the drive, which included - Maintaining a constant speed, and anticipating road conditions ahead to avoid having to step on the brakes unnecessarily. Downhill situations were exploited mercilessly to build up momentum, while also optimising the use of Audi’s “coast mode”, which allows for cylinder deactivation during coasting situations - a major factor in keeping the cars fuel efficient. When met with a slower car in front, we preemptively filtered between lanes to keep the speed going instead of braking. In my opinion, the ideal speed to keep for this challenge was between 80 to 90 km/h.


Stop 1

At our first rest stop, we were 3 hours and 233.2 KM into our journey with a fuel economy score of 24.2 km/l which we felt was quite good - but were also mindful that despite such impressive numbers, we were also up against some very competitive and capable competition. Jon and I switched places and it was my turn to take the wheel. In hindsight, the time we took at our rest stops was a little longer than ideal, which affected our arrival time in Hat Yai.


Lunch Break

About half way through, we stopped at R&R Sungai Buloh for lunch. Not long after, the clouds caught up and it started pouring heavily. This led to further delays and travelling speeds were not ideal for fuel economy. Jon took over the wheel for the next half of the journey to the Thai borders.


Thai Borders

After a gruelling 11 hours of driving, we reached Bukit Kayu Hitam Immigration & Customs to cross into Thailand. At this point, we were the last team to reach and were far behind the others. The expected time of arrival was 5pm but we only arrived at sundown. The Shell petrol station was the last stop of the day, which was an hour away from the Thai Borders. This is how we fared.


Total Distance Travelled: 886 km

Fuel Consumption: 25.8 km/l

Remaining Fuel in Tank: Half. Yes, Half


Day 1 Conclusion

The highest fuel economy score which we hit on day 1 was 25.5 km/l - a pretty fair figure. To say that the Audi A3 1.0L Sedan performed well on this journey is a huge understatement. All things considered, with just under half a tank of fuel left, is absolutely mind boggling. At this juncture, I believe our team still came out on top in 1st place.


DAY 2 - Free and Easy

Uncannily, I woke up at 7am the next morning despite intending to sleep in until the reporting time at 10:30am. Instead of lazing in bed, I decided to take the opportunity to take the car out to explore the town. I drove out for breakfast and coffee before cruising about. At this point, Jon was still asleep.

10:30am came around and all Audi cars departed for Nam Kieng Din restaurant for lunch (or brunch). The media teams had options on how they would like to spend day 2. Some went for a massage, others took the car out to film content. Jon and I participated in the latter.


DAY 3 - Hat Yai to Singapore

All teams were to report at the lobby at 04:00 am to kick start our journey to the Thai borders.

For the drive back to Singapore, each team was to swap to a different Audi. Jon and I had to trade our A3 1.0L Sedan for a Q3 1.5L Sportback. After crossing the Thai borders, the media teams gathered at a Shell station to initiate the trades. Between Jon and I, we had an agreement to segment the journey into quarters. Of which, we will take 2 parts to make half the journey. I was first up in the driver’s seat.


Extra Challenge Rule

At the start of Day 3, we were briefed that there would be an extra 10% penalty for those who did not reach the Malaysian - Singapore borders by 5pm.


With this in mind, Jon and I were extremely strategic from the start on planning our stops, speeds and routes. We figured that we had to abandon our strategy of going 80-90 kmph as there was no way we would reach by 5pm. Instead, we went at 100-120 kmph. Logically, this would have killed our fuel economy. However, if you think about it, all teams were playing the same game of who could get the best fuel economy and still reach by 5pm. Therefore, sacrificing fuel economy was a necessity. According to google maps, our estimated time of arrival was 5:15pm and we had to brainstorm on how to make up the 15 minutes. Going at 120 km/h helped us inch closer to the 5pm mark.


The Journey Back

In the span of the whole entire journey, we only stopped once. Jon and I were fully committed to avoiding the penalty.


The route back to Singapore was, I assume, standard for all teams on Google maps. That route also directed us to go around KL on the highway. This made more sense to many - avoiding passing through KL’s centre to avoid its traffic jams. In what seemed like an unfortunate turn, Jon and I ended up being so engrossed in our conversations that we actually missed the highway exit to go around KL. This meant that we were left with no other choice but to go through KL which I had initially felt responsible for. Unexpectedly, this was instead a huge blessing in disguise as we managed to make up a lot of time and fuel economy. It was in fact, a short cut that gave our team a huge advantage and was, I believe, the main reason for our victory. Not only did we make up the extra 15 minutes, our new estimated time of arrival was now 4:55pm. You are welcome, Jon.

Through a lot of sacrifice, we persevered through the next 5 - 6 hours of our journey. As we neared the Malaysian borders, we were so far ahead at this point that we knew we would win this challenge. Here’s us, the first team to arrive at the shell petrol station just before the borders.

We crossed the borders at around 5pm, and made it back to the finish line at Shell Petrol station at Moulmein Road. Exhausted, I am proud of every one of us who made the journey back and forth between Singapore and Hat Yai, Thailand. Here are our statistics at the end of Day 3 journey:


Total Distance Traveled: 818 km

Fuel Consumption: 18.2 km/l

Remaining Fuel in Tank: Just under half


In Conclusion

Jon and I came in first place and won the challenge.


Both cars performed beyond expectations in terms of their fuel efficiency and comfort, which makes me wonder - If petrol cars have the ability to be this economical, do we really even need electric cars, and are they really the future? Plenty to reflect on following one of the most epic fuel economy challenges we’ve attempted.

Through our own contributions, Jon and I made a great team, with many takeaways derived from the trip, along with plenty of learning points. The thought of ever attempting a 12 hour drive in one shot again is a daunting one, and would seem impossible with the wrong driving partner.

To Jon, who made this journey possible with his enthusiasm and determination, we’ll see you on the other side.



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