It was a beautiful day with clear blue skies over the Thailand Circuit. There was a cool breeze and birds were chirping cheerfully in the air. The Circuit was located somewhere in the midst of the rice fields in Nakhon Pathom Province, a 2 to 3 hours’ drive from Bangkok. The 17th annual Honda Eco Mileage Challenge was conducted here between 28 ~ 30 November 2014.

We reached the Thailand Circuit an hour before the Opening Ceremony, and Mr. Patompon Luedevasin from Marketing Communication Department of A.P. Honda Co., Ltd. guided us around the competition car booth. According to him, The Honda Eco Mileage
 
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ARTICLE 1
The Director-General Meeting of Asean Member Countries on Automobile Taxation & Thai Excise Tax Law Reform Forum

ARTICLE 2
The 17th Honda Eco Mileage
Challenge in Thailand

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Challenge was divided into two categories – custom-built vehicles and standard motorcycles. Under the first category, the participants were divided into three levels – the Vocational level (321 teams)*1 , University level (34 teams) *2 and General level (8 teams)*3. In the first two levels, every team was required to build their vehicle and equip it with a 4-stroke engine PGM-FI system; an exclusive technology provided by Honda. For the general level, which was opened to the public, participants were required to use the Honda Wave110i, another environmental friendly and cutting-edge PGM-FI technology provided by Honda. The second category was the standard motorcycle race, and there were 123 participating teams.

This year, there were a total of 486 participating teams. According to the regulation, each team must comprise 5 members; 1 manager, 1 rider, 2 technicians, and 1 administrator. There were at least 2,430 students involved in the event, and they were not inclusive of their supporters and family.

With the donated engines from Honda, each team was allowed to perform extensive modifications to the engine for a better fuel efficiency system with certain technical rules to comply to. The vehicles were required to run with 1 bottle of Gasohol 91 fuel (90% of Ron 91 blended with 10% of ethanol) at 6 labs (7.1km) with the speed of at least 25km/hr. The result was based on how much lesser fuel the vehicle uses to complete the race. To calculate fuel efficiency, this formula was used:

Fuel Efficiency Rate Calculation : Distance (meter) x Density (g/cc)
Fuel used (g)


=km/l



“The event started since 1998 with only 173 teams, however, this year, the participated teams have increased to almost three-fold at 486 teams. It took 3 days to complete the events, costing about THB10 million in total for the whole event”, said Ms.Jutamart Inpringananta, a Marketing Communications Manager. She has been involved with the event since the very beginning.

The 3-day event schedule as follows:
Day 1 on 28 Nov 2014 (07:30 – 18:00)
- All teams to practice their run in the circuit
- Standard type (Ordinary Motorcycle) to practice their run in the circuit

Day 2 on 29 Nov 2014 (07:30 – 18:00)
- Custom-built vehicles to practice their run in the circuit
- Standard type (Ordinary Motorcycle) – actual race

Day 3 on 30 Nov 2014 (07:30 – 16:00)
- Grand Opening Ceremony
- Custom-built vehicle – actual race
- Award Ceremony

According to Ms. Jutamart, the original objective of this event was aimed at promoting Honda motorcycles in Thailand. The aim, however, has since changed. Students started to learn about fuel-saving technologies and increased their environmental awareness through the event. As such, the event was developed into one of the biggest CSR activities in Thailand with a new concept – “Challenge to the New Idea and Conquer the Fuel Economy”.

During the opening ceremony, Suchart Arunsaengroj, The Director of AP Honda Co. Ltd. said, “under AP Honda for Thai Society project, we’ve created an activity that continually returns to the society in many ways. The Honda Eco Mileage Challenge is an important activity that has been practiced for 17 years. The main purpose of the challenge is to lift the automotive engineering standard for the Thai youth, promote teamwork among the youth, and encourage them to spend their free time wisely. The challenge not only encourages them to apply the knowledge from the classroom to build innovations, but also raises the awareness of the fuel economy among the youth.”

After several hours of waiting, Mr. Suchat Arunsaengroj finally announced the race result in the evening. Under the custom-built vehicles category, the Virgin 1team from Sakonnakhon Technical College won with a stunning record of 1,473.95 km/liter. The result: not only did they win a trophy from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, but they will also be representing Thailand to compete at an International Level in Japan (Honda Soichiro Cup Honda Eco Mileage 2015). And in Thailand, the greatest honor is for someone to receive an award from the Thai Royal family.

The runner up was team Takorai No.2, from Rajamangala University of Technology Isan – Nakhonratchasima with a record of 997.67 km/liter. The team received the trophy from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and will represent Thailand in the international tournament in China.

Under the standard motorcycles category, the team Technic Trang 2 from Trang Technical College clocked 307.11km/ltr in the first place, and Team Kaenkhon from Khon Kaen Industrial and Community Education College clocked 284.50km/ltr in the second.

Mr. Shanwet Boonpraderm, Assistant Secretary-General of the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC, formerly DOVE), Ministry of Education, Thailand, expressed his gratitude to AP Honda. He said, “This program aligns with the government’s policy to nurture and cultivate vocational school students to become our future generation of skilled workers for the country. They are the foundation of the country. We will continue to give our full support to this program”.

With growing success, as well as support and positive response from the students and public, AP Honda is planning to extend the scale of the program by inviting all the Vocational Schools and colleges in the country. They also plan to shift the event to the newly opened Buriram International Race Circuit, Thailand’s first circuit capable of hosting an F1 race in the future.
1Vocational level: participants from the students of Vocational school
2University level: participants from the students of University of Thailand
3General level: participants from public

 

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