Michelin Challenge Bibendum

John Bryan, video photographer, and Bruce Meland Publisher of Electrifying Times are pleased to announce some EVents from the recent Michelin Challenge Bibendum at the Los Angeles Speedway in Fontana CA held on Sat Oct. 27 and the performance trip to Las Vegas Sunday Oct 28. 

What a fantastic event! Over 50 alternate fuel vehicles competed. Host Michelin Tires truly gave us the red carpet treatment throughout the entire duration of the challenge. Looking over the results it's clear that there was no single winner among the competing technologies. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. These different technologies included electric, hybrid electric, diesel, gasoline, natural gas, biofuel, alcohol, gas/alc/hydr, hydrogen/nat. gas, fuel cell, hydrogen I.C.E., and L.P.G.

The 2 mile California Speedway is world class and that is where the100 mile distance and efficiency challenge took place. The parking lot infield allowed acceleration, breaking, noise testing and autocross competition. Dennis Weaver was in attendance, driving a hydrogen car throughout the event. We were able to drive any and all of the cars there.

John Bryan mainly worked on capturing video but did go on a few rides. One being Toyota's new hybrid minivan, the Estima which is selling about a 1000 units a month in Japan, and also a fun ride in an antique Rauch and Lang EV.

Michelin served delicious food and drinks at every step along the way, there at the track and at the stops on our way to Las Vegas, but it was in Las Vegas that the Hilton hotel showed us the best hospitality that they had to offer. They would call you "misseur" as they placed course after course of mouth-watering delights before you in the elegant ballrooms.

The whole thing ended at the SEMA show. SEMA is the Specialty Equipment Market Association. They treated the Bibendum attendees to an elegant luncheon hosted by General Motors. We concluded by checking out the SEMA displays and in particular the collection of alternative fueled vehicles which had competed in the Bibendum Challenge. What does Bibendum mean?

That's the name of the Michelin Man, the lovable blimpie white character that recently won the distinction of being the most popular icon in the world. The next issue of Electrifying Times will have complete listing and results of most of these clean alternate fueled vehicles.

Hyundai Santa Fe FC Excels at Michelin Challenge

Hyundai Motor Company recently announced that its fuel cell (FC)-powered Santa Fe sport-utility vehicle (SUV) was awarded two gold and two silver medals at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum held last week. The company said the SUV won gold medals in both the emissions and noise categories, and received silver medals for its performance in the slalom and fuel economy tests.

"The Michelin Challenge Bibendum proved that fuel cell technology has taken great strides towards becoming a viable option for consumers," said Hyundai research and development president Chung Goo Lee. "We are exceptionally proud of our team and our partners for developing a vehicle that represents the technical expertise and spirit of innovation at Hyundai."

Hyundai said the fuel cell-powered vehicles entered in the challenge were rated against industry protocols -- standards of excellence applied to internal combustion engine vehicles -- and given grades ranging from A through D. The letter grades were then translated into gold, silver and bronze medals.

The automaker said the SUV participated in the event as a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership. A total of six hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles from various manufacturers were entered in the Michelin Challenge.

Contact: Kevin Oates, Hyundai,
phone 310-444-1331,
e-mail kevin.oates@ketchum.com.

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