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Automotive Journalists, F1 driver, visit Montreal students

engineering students

AJAC's Ottawa-Montreal Eco-Run concludes at Polytechnique Montreal

MONTREAL--June 6, 2013: University students at Polytechnique Montreal had a double treat this morning as they were visited at their downtown workshop by a cadre of automotive journalists, a fleet of 22 new high-tech "green" vehicles, and a Formula One driver, Jean-Eric Vergne.

The journalists were taking part in the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada's (AJAC's) second annual Eco-Run, which began three days ago in Ottawa and concluded today at Polytechnique Montreal.

Eco-Run's purpose is to demonstrate to consumers a broad array of "green" technologies and vehicles currently available to help save money on fuel and also help the environment. The event also educates consumers that driving habits are just as important as the vehicle when it comes to fuel efficiency.

The technologies spotlighted in the Eco-Run include a full range of powerplants, from pure battery electric, plug-in hybrid and basic gasoline-hybrid combinations to advanced conventional gasoline and diesel engines. They also feature such fuel-saving features as automatic stop-start systems and automatic cruise control.

Proving that fuel-efficient technologies can be found in any size and type of vehicle that may suit one's needs, the Eco-Run fleet covers the range from a smart electric and Ford Focus EV to a Porsche Cayenne Diesel SUV and high-efficiency Ram pickup truck.

Jean-Eric Vergne's visit not only reinforced the need for eco-friendly and fuel-efficient vehicles but the importance of driving safety.

As a second-year Formula One driver, for the Toro Rosso team, 23-year-old Vergne, from France, is a rising star on the F1 circuit. Going into Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix, he has scored two top-ten finishes in the season's first six races - most recently eighth on the streets of Monaco.

Vergne has been racing since the age of four, starting in karts and progressing through Europe's ladder of single-seater Formula-cars to GP3 and Renault Formula 3.5, before earning a full-time seat with Toro Rosso in 2012. So he knows the importance of safety.

To that end, he demonstrated some of the FIA's 10 Golden Rules of Safety to the Polytechnique Montreal students in a driving simulator at their workshop. The FIA is the world's governing body of automobile racing, including Formula One.

He also reviewed both the Eco Run vehicles and the students' various project cars, congratulating their Solar Car team on earning an invitation to compete with it in Australia next month. Vergne signed their car for good luck and presented each of the team members with T-shirts.

AJAC journalist Michel Deslauriers presented the final 'Green Jersey' to Michael Bettencourt for being the most fuel-efficient driver throughout the three-day event.