Distance, not speed, was the goal this weekend on the track at the 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas(R), a challenge for students to design, build and test fuel-efficient vehicles that travel the farthest distance using the least amount of fuel. This year, more than 500 students from North and South America were on hand to stretch the boundaries of fuel efficiency. So who came out on top?
The student team from Laval University, with an astonishing 2,757.1 miles per gallon, equivalent to 1,172.2 kilometres per liter, won the grand prize in the “Prototype” category. And in the “UrbanConcept” category – new to the Americas event this year – the team from Mater Dei High School took the grand prize by achieving 433.3 mpg, equivalent to 184.2 km/l.
With 44 participating teams at track competition was steep. This year’s challenge brought together a number of returning teams determined to beat the 2,843 mpg (1,208 km/l) record set by Mater Dei High School (Evansville, Ind.) in 2008, combined with a number of new teams adding fresh innovation and vehicle designs to the competition. “The Shell Eco-marathon is a platform for students to let their imaginations run wild,” said Mark Singer, global project manager for the Shell Eco-marathon. “By encouraging these students to build vehicles with greater energy efficiency, we hope this will help inspire others; and together we can find solutions that will help meet the global energy challenge.”
Note: Why so little media attention to this most exciting race for top gas mileage? And if high school students can build a car that gets over 2,500 mpg, what’s up with Detroit? Could big business be suppressing, or at the very least ignoring these inspiring inventions?