How efficient is your car?

Disciplined driving at a constant 1500 RPM works magic for your four-wheeler mileage, says entrepreneur Narayanan R Menon

Updated - October 18, 2016 12:48 pm IST

Published - January 26, 2012 08:21 pm IST

One for the record Narayanan R Menon Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

One for the record Narayanan R Menon Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

“You have a magic foot,” said the car maker when Narayanan R Menon told them about his car's mileage. It was 46.33 km per litre of diesel. The car? Tata Indigo Manza Quadrajet. “There is no magic. It has to do with driving methodology — maintaining a steady RPM (Rotations per Minute) and disciplined driving as per road conditions is the key,” smiles the entrepreneur.

His feat has won him an entry into the Limca Book of World Records. The citation of National Record 2011, credits him with having achieved a mileage of 46.33 km per litre in his Tata Indigo Manza Quardrajet, the highest fuel efficiency for a diesel car as on May 25, 2010. He drove 73.2 km on the Coimbatore-Avanashi Road bypass on NH 47 using just 1.58 litres of diesel.

The Indian Book of Records has listed his achievement under “120 Best Talents of 2012”. He also finds a place in Assist World Records, Asia Book of Records, and World's Amazing Records…

“People should be aware of the RPM meter. We talk about speed at different gears such as 20 km for the first gear, 30 km for the second and so on. No one talks about maintaining acceleration at 1500 RPM. Driving schools should educate people,” he mentions.

The mechanical engineer experimented with the idea while on an exercise to reduce his company's overheads. He is into manufacturing industrial cranes, sugar boiling equipment and pre-engineered buildings. “We are investing heavily on coping with power shortage. The only area where I could cut costs was fuel consumption, as four to five cars were being used for transportation purposes.”

An eye on the RPM

His engineering background came in handy. While driving, instead of keeping a tab on the Digital Information System (DIS), he focussed on RPM meter. “Initially, I got 27 km ( the manufacturer had offered just 21.1 km), then 39 km before achieving the magic figure of 46.33. I tested the engine efficiency of different cars such as Toyota Innova, Chevrolet Spark and a second-hand Benz too, and found it was possible to achieve 1.5 times more mileage than the average at 1500 RPM, irrespective of speed and fuel,” he claims.

He says that on city roads, four-wheelers consume more fuel primarily due to idling at traffic signals. Frequent gear changing, lack of traffic discipline and poor planning of road tracks are the contributing factors.

“In India, road tracks are developed based on the size of vehicles and not on speed, as in foreign countries. For example, scooters and autos take the first track, lorries the middle tracks and cars the extreme right. When a BMW speeding at 80 km tries to overtake a fiat Padmini at 45 km from the left, it results in a mishap.”

The industrialist says it is important to conserve fuel for tomorrow's generation. “I talk to taxi drivers while travelling in their cabs. They call me when they are happy with the result. Being aware of RPM is important. Small lifestyle changes help one to achieve this feat. If I can achieve it, so can you,” smiles Narayanan. He blogs at >

Making an impact

When an individual achieves 22.22 kmpl (just 2.22 km more than average), he saves 0.5 litres of fuel for every 100 km. As per a recent survey, in India there are more than 40 million cars, and counting. The impact it can have on the economy is immense, says Narayanan R Menon

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