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'Africa to UK on a tank' claim by Merc

2014-09-10 10:41

ALL ABOARD FOR ENGLAND: Well, Algeciras in Spain first, en route from Africa to Goodwood. Image: Mercedes

LONDON, England - A standard UK-registered Mercedes-Benz E300 BlueTec Hybrid has driven from Africa to the UK non-stop on one tank of fuel.

Well, more or less... Mercedes UK did admit, when Wheels24 queried  the route taken, that the car did cross the Strait of Gibraltar by sea ferry from the start point in Tangier on the Moroccan coast, to Algeciras on the south-east coast of Spain.

So the drive REALLY started on the European mainland, but what the heck...


British journalist Andrew Frankel was behind the adventure and claimed he averaged 3.84 litres/100km for the journey from Tangier, visiting two continents and four countries in 27 hours on the road (which he shared with a relief driver) to reach Goodwood in the UK in time for its appearance at the Festival of Speed.

Total distance covered: 1968km, though GoogleMaps lists Algeciras-Goodwood, via Spain, France and the English Channel crosding, as 2180km.

The original intention was simply to see if it were possible to get to the UK without refuelling but on arriving at Goodwood and the Festival of Speed the fuel gauge was yet to register empty, the car estimating a further 160km possible – equating to a range of 2129km).


During the course of the journey Andrew encountered heavy rain, intense heat, rush hour traffic jams and dramatic elevation changes – providing a real challenge to the aim of travelling from Africa to the UK without the need to fill up.

The car (fitted with an 80-litre fuel tank, a purchase option) was scrupulously standard – enduring the 26 hours of driving with relative ease. Despite the focus on economy on the run from Africa, the Mercedes, which emits 109g/km of CO2, is no slouch.

Its 150kW diesel engine and 21kW electric motor combine to allow it to accelerate from rest to 100km/h in 7.5sec before reaching its max of maximum speed of 240km/h. Frankel said the car had travelled further on a tank than any standard E-Class before it.

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