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Blue is the new Green for VW Passat

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Date Published: 27-May-2010

Is Blue the new Green? Volkswagen’s BlueMotion technology has become somewhat of an industry standard in a short period of time.

Already it has been introduced into the Polo, Golf and the Passat. BlueMotion technology includes: retuned engines, a Start/Stop function, an on-dash gear shift indicator, battery regeneration under braking, low rolling resistance tyres and some body add-ons and changes to reduce drag all with the goal of reducing CO2 emissions and lowering fuel consumption in these eco-conscious and cost-cutting times. And, you get a discreet BlueMotion badge that tells the World and fellow road users that you are a caring motorist.

 

There are three models in the Passat range that feature BlueMotion technology. You can have a 1.4-litre TSI 122 bhp, a 1.6-TDI 105 bhp and a 2.0-litre 140 bhp, all with manual gearboxes and all promising the same refinement and comfort as the standard Passat equivalent.

You can also get the Passat with 6- and 7-speed DSG automatic transmission depending on the model you choose. But it is for the cars environmental claims that the BlueMotion range is mostly marketed and it is against those and the cost of delivering those credits that we must look at the Passat BlueMotion.

 

To put the cart before the horse here, the results are impressive. The figures do hold up to all intents with the fuel consumption after a week in the 1.6-litre TDI coming in at a healthy 5.4L/100kms. Volkswagen do claim that this car can deliver 4.9L/100kms so any observer of such claims from any car maker will tell you that that constitutes an excellent return.

Talking to others in the office here about the Passat BlueMotion, all mention the fuel consumption first and all returned similar figures and that kind of consistency across a eclectic bunch of pilots like the Fleet Transport test drivers suggests that Volkswagen have their figures nailed.

 

The only true measurement of any car from an ownership view point and a cost of ownership perspective is that it delivers what the manufacturer promises. Or, that over-used phrase that ‘it does what it says on the tin’.

From the fuel economy angle Volkswagen’s claims are as good as their word. Official CO2 emissions are 118g/km which puts the Passat BlueMotion firmly in the Band-A tax bracket and an annual Road Tax bill of €104. The technology also ensures that the engine is Euro 5 compliant.

 

On the road, there are some obvious differences that way the Passat BlueMotion performs compared to a regular specified Passat 1.6. You will notice little around town to tell them apart. However, if you try to follow the instructions of the gear shift indicator all the time, you will drive yourself insane although it will make a big difference to the fuel economy.

But, take it from me it is not worth it. Out on the open road you will detect the results of the detuning of the engine. Acceleration from 0 to 100kms is 12.4 seconds with maximum torque of 250Nm between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm.

 

There’s little need to remind you that the BlueMotion Passat carries all the structural, safety and aesthetic traits present in all Passat models. In the BlueMotion the Start/Stop function works exactly the same way as other systems of this type operate with the engine cutting out if you stop in traffic and engage neutral, restarting again as soon as you press the clutch. You know it’s active when the Start/Stop symbol is shown on the multifunction computer display.

The battery regeneration allows the battery to be charged by recovering energy under braking and the low rolling resistance tyres help the drag co-efficient. There are some who say that grip is reduced with these tyres. Logic would conclude that this should be the case. However, both Volkswagen and the tyre manufacturers don’t believe they do. There was no noticeable evidence of lesser grip during my week with the car although the weather that week was generally dry.

 

Gerry’s Rating 7.5/10

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.

 

For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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