Czech Republic
Sector: CNG

Germany to Italy for 35 euros

Gerhard Plattner strikes back! The eco-driving champion and record-breaker drives a Skoda once again to prove you can drive next to free of charge, particularly if you have a compressed natural gas-powered car at hand.
The Baumann family, Gerhard Plattner and their CNG-powered Skoda Octavia G-TECs© SkodaThe Baumanns lost to Gerhard Plattner (which is little of a surprise), although by not a very large margin

Fuel economy figures published by carmakers usually have little in common with their real-life counterparts and not in favour of average drivers, who have a hard time trying to achieve consumption results comparable to those promised by official promo materials. However, there are those who find it easy not only to meet the strict numbers, but actually beat them. Austrian driver Gerhard Plattner is one such light-footed motorist and he has repeatedly proven that to save on fuel, you – above all – must want to. Still, an economical car comes in handy, too, and the CNG-powered Skoda Octavia G-TEC is no doubt an economical ride.

The Austrian, who collaborated with Skoda before by driving the also CNG-powered Citigo G-TEC on a 2619 km route from Vicenza, Italy, to Stockholm, Sweden, for little more than 80 euros spent on fuel, this time drove 1172 km from Berlin, Germany, to Jesolo, Italy, spending 35,71 euros along the way. This means Mr Plattner managed to achieve fuel economy of 2,93 kg/3,91 m3 of CNG per 100 km (corresponding to 81 grams/km in CO2 emissions), thus improving the official figure of 3,5 kg/4,68 m3 per 100 km by 17%. To make the ride more than just driving for driving's sake, Gerhard Plattner raced the Baumanns – a family of four from Berlin – traveling in an identical Octavia G-TEC.

Gerhard Plattner's Skoda Octavia G-TEC at a CNG station© SkodaFuel station owners probably don't love people like Gerhard Plattner. Luckily for them, few drive as economically as him

Both cars had the exact same on-the-road gross weight of 1700 kg (Plattner's car was "artificially” loaded since he traveled alone) and the destination was far from coincidental – Jesolo lies upon the Italian coast of the Adriatic Sea and so the goal was to drive the route to the holiday resort for as little money as possible. Gerhard Plattner won (thus saving more for summer holidays), but the Baumanns secured a good result, too, at 3,6 kg/4,81 m3 per 100 km only slightly below Skoda's declared figure.

While the entire effort clearly shows that economical cars powered with affordable fuels can be made even more economical and affordable by proper driving technique, surely not everyone has what it takes to become another Gerhard Plattner. Even though the number of drivers interested in mastering the art of eco-driving is on the rise, in the end there will probably be more Baumanns than Gerhard Plattners, just as there are many people who can sing, but there's just one Pavarotti. Which doesn't mean it's not worth trying...


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Robert Markowski
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