Category Archives: T5

The current cutting edge of Volkswagen design. What will they think of next? (T6?)

Improving fuel economy

Following on from last week’s article, this week we are talking about improving fuel economy.

Now that you know how to calculate fuel economy, let’s look at ways to improve it!

Improvements before you start the engine

  • Remove anything in the vehicle that is not required. Lighter vehicles use less fuel. Take it out!
  • Pump up the tyres to the manufacturers recommended pressure. Soft tyres create friction and use more fuel.
  • Ensure that the engine is well maintained and running well. Properly adjusted points / electronic ignition uses the fuel better and wastes less, good carb adjustment uses optimal amounts of fuel. It all adds up!
  • Similarly the drive train / brakes / hubs / wheels can create friction and drag slowing down the vehicle taking fuel to overcome it.
  • Remove the top box or roof rack if you do not need it. Aerodynamics makes a big difference even to a vehicle shaped like a loaf of bread!

Improvements once you are rolling

  • Drive safely and conservatively.
  • Stay within the speed limit.
  • Slower is better – every 10mph above 50mph will reduce your fuel economy by 10% on average. Enjoy the journey!
  • Find a route where there is constant speed – a few miles more around the outside of town with no slowing down is probably less fuel overall than going through the middle with the constant speed changes.
  • Accelerate smoothly without taking the engine to the red line.
  • Try not to accelerate up a hill if it is safe to do so.
  • Accelerate down a hill up to the speed limit if it is safe to do so. Remember being on a bicycle and how you used to get up speed downhill ahead of that big hill? That is the same principle of conserving energy!

Logging

  • Keep a diary of the fills. Monitor how things change through the seasons.
  • Observe any big changes and understand why – does one driver have a “heavier foot”? If so, is your biggest fuel saver asking them to be a passenger?!

If EVERYONE makes just a 1% change to their fuel needs, it will save 10 litres per person per year. 1% sounds like nothing but that is 3 billion litres per year in the US and 7 billion litres per year across Europe.

Helping yourself

If you are spending £1,000 per annum on fuel, a well thought out strategy and a £200 service can actually work out cheaper overall but reducing the fuel used / money spent. Drive sensibly, maintain the vehicle well. Not only are you saving fuel and helping the planet, but you are also keeping the vehicle in better shape, making it last longer and stay in better condition.

Fuel economy explained

You have a vehicle. It does not have “fuel economy”.

You have fuel. It ALSO does not have fuel economy.

Put the two together and you do have fuel economy.

Did you know that electric vehicles actually pre-date petrol / gasoline vehicles? The major downside even a century later is that electric power does not have the same energy density as a gallon of fuel. Your starter battery in your vehicle, whether it is a 2 seater light weight sports car or a large 4WD truck, will be somewhere between 20 to 50 pounds in weight / 10kg to 25kg.

Put that battery into an electric vehicle and even the most modern and lightweight electric vehicle will travel no more than about 6 miles. (Modern vehicles are approaching 150Wh per mile) and that is very optimistic. Take that same SPACE occupied by the battery and a petrol / gasoline engine will travel 40 miles / 60 kilometres conservatively. Take that same WEIGHT of the battery and you will travel far further. A starter battery of 50 pounds in weight (25kg) in a modern petrol car could travel more than 300 miles!

Due to this energy density, oil based vehicles, either petrol or diesel have dominated the market. They are however not overly efficient.

The above diagram of a passenger vehicle using the American EPA Urban cycle definitions shows that only 12% of the energy from the fuel ends up driving the wheels. A massive 62% of the energy is lost as heat.

Checking fuel economy

Fill up your tank as full as possible (initial fill). If you are using a classic vehicle, avoid supermarket fuel as some owners have found reduced fuel economy and other issues. Choose the RON fuel for your engine as applicable. Note the first odometer reading.

Drive normally and at a suitable point – ideally later in the tank not sooner to reduce the error margin, fill up again (second fill). Note the second odometer reading.

For those of you in America, you just filled up in gallons. For those in Europe, if you want to stay in litres then great. To convert to UK gallons, divide the number of litres by 4.56. So 45.6 litres is 10 UK gallons. Gallons are smaller in America!

(Second odometer reading) – (First odometer reading) is the distance travelled between fills. The fuel added in the second fill is how much fuel you needed to travel.

(Distance travelled between fills) / (Second fill) = Fuel economy.

Talking about a Volkswagen transporter, the older vehicles will be towards the 15 miles per UK gallon (12 miles per US gallon) or 1.6 miles per litre. More modern vehicles can get towards 50mpg (40mpg in the US or 11 miles per litre) and custom engines can make a big dent in this figure!

Some modern calculations are litres per 100 km / 60 miles. This is also valid but for this, the lower this number, the more efficient! MPG means a higher number is better.

Next week, we will be discussing improvements in fuel economy.

Type 2 T5 Buying Guide

The Volkswagen Type 2 T5, the fifth generation of transporters went into production in April 2003 have been launched the previous October and continued until 2015.

If this twenty first century model tickles your fancy for its series of 2 litre to 3.2 litre petrol and diesel, front engine, water cooled engines with 5 to 7 speed gearboxes, modern refinement and equipment, this might be the one for you.

There is also a doubleback model that glides out an extra box from the back extending the length when parked to make a huge, spacious, luxury camper inside.

Here is a buying guide if you think this one is for you.

https://www.practicalmotorhome.com/advice/39903-used-t5-vw-camper-van-buyers-guide

Product Review – VW California Additional Shelf

http://wildaboutscotland.com/2014/02/26/product-review-vw-california-additional-shelf/

VW California additional shelf

While the VW California is a hugely flexible and well-designed camper van its size means that one of its drawbacks is that storage and shelf space is sometimes at a premium.  This is a first look at an additional shelf designed to address this issue.

I find that you need to be incredibly organised to live with a Cali.  If you’re cooking, for example, the tendency is to lay out your ingredients on the nearest flat surface.  But if you need to use the stove or get into the fridge then you need to move them to the folding table; I’m forever shifting things around to find the most convenient free space.  Similarly at night we tend to use the top of the cooker and fridge to lay out clothes, books, glasses, keys and phones.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a handy shelf to put your glasses, books or cup of coffee on so they won’t be mislaid ?

I bought the additional shelf from the VW California Club online shop (imported I think from CaliTop.de).  It’s a simple but ingenious design which slots in underneath a horizontal rail just at the base of the roof area with two aluminium brackets.  The shelf itself is 15 x 70cm and made of lightweight anodised aluminium which is absolutely in keeping with the Cali’s smart design.  I bought the version of the shelf with a horizontal rail underneath, with six plastic hooks, but there’s a slightly cheaper version without the rail.  Other accessories (eg a garment rail) are also available from CaliTop.de.

While there were no instructions with my shelf it was easy to put together.  The plastic hooks snap onto the rail with a satisfying click, promising a rattle-free beginning !

The shelf components straight out of the box

The shelf fully constructed - a five minute job

I was puzzled at first trying to work out how the shelf attached to the van.  But after a few minutes’ head-scratching I discovered the aluminium rail that runs along the roof line above the kitchen window.  The two aluminium brackets slot in just behind this rail and hold the shelf in place without any fixings or glue.

Close-up of the brackets slotted into the horizontal rail

The shelf in place

The shelf in use with the roof up

The great advantage with the shelf is that it can be kept in place while driving and is therefore useful for when the roof is both up and down.  Having driven around with it for the last week I can also report that it produces absolutely NO rattles which is a huge bonus.

In use I’ve found the shelf to be … well, just handy for putting stuff on.  I recommend it !

What I like:

  • simple but effective design
  • lightweight
  • no rattles
  • stays in situ permanently
  • genuinely helps solve the lack of shelf space issue.

What I don’t like:

  • nothing.

The rail version of the shelf is available from the VW California Club online shop for £56.99 including delivery [Note: deliveries are not made outwith the UK].

 

Latest pictures of Hymer’s first Volkswagen campervan

http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/Motorhomes/News/New-models/Hymer-creates-first-Volkswagen-campervan/_ch1_nw2895_pg1

Hymer has launched six new campervans one of which is built on the Volkswagen T5

The Hymer VW campervan – called the Cape Town – joins five other all-new campervans – the Rio, the Sydney, the Grand Canyon, the Yellowstone and the Serengeti – which are built on the Fiat Ducato.

The campers have been designed and built by a new division of Hymer – called HymerCar – that has been created to allow the manufacturer to get a foothold in the growing European campervan market.
The new VW HymerCar will come to the UK next year, although left-hand drive models are already available and British dealers have already placed orders.
The VW Cape Town features a double bed that can be easily made up and sits across the cabinetwork.

The lower double bed in the new Hymer VW Cape Town campervan

It also features a unique pop-top rising roof that has a double joint at the rear so it allows for walking room inside when the ‘upstairs’ bed is not in use.

The rising roof has a double joint to allow room to walk inside

Hymer has also created a range of bespoke storage solutions for the new campervans
There are bespoke storage solutions for the new Hymer VW Cape Town campervan

In addition, Hymer has created a clever bicycle-carrying system for the new VW campervan
The new bicycle carrying system developed by Hymer for its new Cape Town campervan

The public will be able to view the new HymerCars, including the all-new VW Cape Town, at the October NEC motorhome show.

The new Hymer VW Cape Town campervan

While prices have yet to be confirmed, expect the new VW Hymer to cost in excess of £50,000, which puts it in the same price range of the VW California.

You can read more about the new HymerCar campervans in the August issue of MMM magazine, which is on sale now. This issue also contains a FREE campervan supplement, which has details of campervans and manufacturers in the UK.

In addition, the September issue of MMM magazine, which goes on sale on 22 August, features an exclusive interview with the managing director of Hymer about his plans for tempting more British buyers through his dealers’ doors.

MMM is available as a digital magazine for just £2.95. Click here for more