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Monday, March 29, 2010

4,548 MPG Achieved at 2010 Shell Eco-Marathon Americas

Extreme mileage was the goal this weekend on the streets of downtown Houston as 42 student teams competed in the 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Americas, a challenge for students to design, build and test fuel-efficient vehicles that travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. More than 400 students were on hand to stretch the boundaries of fuel efficiency and participate in the first-ever street course challenge for the Americas event.

So who came out on top? For the second year in a row, the student team from Laval University in Quebec, Canada took home the grand prize with an astonishing 2,487.5 miles per gallon, equivalent to 1,057.5 kilometres per liter, in the "Prototype" category. And in the "UrbanConcept" category, the team from Mater Dei High School in Evansville, IN took the grand prize for the second year in a row by achieving 437.2 mpg, equivalent to 185.87 km/l.

The challenge kicked off on Saturday, March 27 with Shell Oil Company President Marvin Odum waving the green start flag and Houston Mayor Annise Parker proclaiming "Shell Eco-marathon Americas Day." With 48 vehicles testing on the Houston street course, competition was steep. This year's challenge brought together a number of returning teams determined to beat the winning 2,757.1 mpg (1,172.2 km/l) achieved by Laval University in 2009, combined with a number of new teams adding fresh innovation and vehicle designs to the competition.

"The competition was tough this year, plus participating on a street course for the first time was a whole new experience for us," said Bruno Leduc of Laval University. "We put a lot of time and energy into our vehicle this year and are very proud of how we did. We are excited to be the Shell Eco-marathon Americas champions again in 2010!"

"The 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Americas is a challenge that brings together high school and college students from across the Americas to push the boundaries and design mobility solutions," said Mark Singer, global project manager for the Shell Eco-marathon. "And, it is a clear demonstration that we're never too young to start making energy innovations and efficiency a priority. It was inspiring to see these vehicles of the future on the streets of downtown Houston this year."

Student teams were invited to participate in either the Prototype or UrbanConcept categories. For the Prototype category, teams entered futuristic prototypes - streamlined vehicles focused on maximizing fuel efficiency through innovative design elements, such as drag reduction. For the UrbanConcept category, teams entered more "roadworthy" fuel-efficient vehicles. Aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers, these vehicles are closer in appearance to the cars seen on roads today. For both categories, teams can use any conventionally available energy source - including fuels such as diesel, gasoline and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), as well as alternative fuels such as hydrogen, biomass and solar.

The 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Americas roster contained 42 teams from 9 high schools and 28 universities from across the Americas. Additionally, one guest team from Italy joined the roster with their Prototype vehicle.

The Prototype entries included 28 vehicles powered by combustion engines, five by fuel cell/hydrogen technology, two by solar power, and two by diesel fuel. The UrbanConcept entries included six vehicles powered by combustion engines, two by diesel fuel, one by fuel cell/hydrogen and one by solar power.

Category winners for the 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Americas include:


Grand Prize - Combustion Engine

With mileage of 2,487.5 mpg (1,057.5 kilometers per liter) the Alerion Supermileage team from Laval University of Quebec, Canada won a US$5,000 grand prize with their vehicle, NTF 4.0.

Fuel Cell/Hydrogen

The Cicero North Syracuse High School team from Cicero, N.Y. achieved 780.9 mpg (331.99 km/l) in its Clean Green Machine vehicle.

Solar Power

The Purdue University Solar Racing Team took first place with its solar vehicle, Pulsar, which achieved 4,548 mpg (1933.5 km/l).

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