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For the second year in a row, the student team from Laval University in Quebec, Canada took home the $5,000 top prize in a worst-to-first finish at the Shell Eco-marathon Americas. In case you missed the headline, their winning entry in the "Prototype" category returned 2,487.5 miles per gallon. We find it incredibly thrilling to report mpg ratings that require a comma so we're going to write it again: 2,487.5 mpg. Wow.

This year's Eco-marathon Americas began Saturday, March 27th with 42 teams on the Houston, TX road course gunning for Team Laval University's 2009 record of 2,757.1 mpg. The event has two entry categories: the "Prototype" category aims for maximum efficiency without regard to actual real-world driveability – and allows those amazing mpg resulte. The "UrbanConcept" category encourages entrants to construct vehicles that are closer to fulfilling the needs of an actual road-going consumer. This year's UrbanConcept winner was Mater Dei High School in Evansville, IN. Team Mater Dei took the grand prize for the second year in a row by pulling down 437.2 mpg. The winning vehicles in both the Prototype and the UrbanConcept categories used combustion engines.

"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," he said.

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.

[Source: Shell, Green Car Congress]


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  • 56 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the government put 950 BILLION into making driving affordable again for Americans we could all afford Health care...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why is it so strange that the competition should involve only vehicles which can be directly re-energized in just a few minutes? How many people want to drive an electric car cross-country, where they'd have to "stop for the night" after only 4-6 hours of driving? How many people are there like me who can't possibly own an electric commuter vehicle because we can't recharge during the day?

      Or are all you EV fans unemployed?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Forget about conspiracy theories and Shell's self interest for a moment and at least give kudos to the participants. Yes, we are all deservedly cynical, but you have to give a little credit to someone who designs a vehicle that can go more than 2000 miles on a single gallon, regardless of who sponsors the stupid contest.

      What is really interesting is the "UrbanConcept" winner was able to pull down 437 Mpg in a vehicle that is "closer to fulfilling the needs of an actual road-going consumer", in a vehicle with a combustion engine. Which begs the question... How close? Because the best we have right now is what, 50 Mpg in a Gas Prius, and whatever best Euro diesel (BlueMotion or whatever it is) at 70whatever per imperial gallon which is who cares US Mpg because you can't buy it here anyway). Anywhoo, it'd sure be nice to pick up a 437 Mpg vehicle and laugh at all the scooter riders on their "gas guzzlers", so a detail article about the winning cars would be a nice touch.

      And maybe its just me, but if a team from a Catholic High School can make a 437 Mpg vehicle with a combustion engine, then how come none of the cars from Detroit can manage to exceed 43.7 Mpg?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Closer to real world" does NOT equal "Real world". How many of those cars do you think have airbags? More than one, maybe 2 seats? Sound Insulation? Any safety equipment to speak of?

        If an automaker could get a safe, competitive, EPA approved vehicle on the market with 400mpg, I'm pretty certain they would.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "if a team from a Catholic High School can make a 437 Mpg vehicle with a combustion engine, then how come none of the cars from Detroit can manage to exceed 43.7 Mpg?"

        Because they don't want to, of course.

        An EV could get infinite mpg, with the only carbon emissions coming from the manufacturing process. That is what Shell knows and doesn't want others to think about, which is why they artificially handicapped every entry in this contest.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What does "the equivalent" of 2,500 miles per gallon mean? Does that mean that whatever fuel you put in, if you put in one gallon you go 2500 miles?

      That is what people who put gas in their car mean.

      Or does this mean it actually gets 50 miles to the gallon of whatever fuel, and only 0.02 gallons of GASOLINE was required in producing the fuel?

      Because I see this second definition a lot nowadays, and it is complete nonsense. Whatever fuel we want to use to replace gasoline will have to be mined or made, and we can't do accounting tricks to get away from that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Was there prize money for ugliest car?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Highway, or City?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I checked out the rules for the Shell eco challenge the other day. there is about 10 categories, any type of fuel plus solar. but not battery electric drive.
      gotta wonder why that is. it couldn't possibly be because it's the one that can actually work and doesn't involve fossil fuel..
      Shell wouldn't host such a competition knowing full well that nothing would come of it just for the green washing, would they..
        • 4 Years Ago
        You know, i bet the oil companies fund/have these competitions in their own private interests.. to gauge or promote the real-life potential / excitement of future liquid/gaseous fuels.

        So of course they are not interested in supporting electric.. I'm thinking we'll never see Shell produce batteries :p
        • 4 Years Ago
        of course we can. the only obstacle is obtuseness like yours. nothing else.
        make a change in you
        • 4 Years Ago
        solar can never work for a car. hence no threat to oil.
        are you really trying to argue that a combustion engine makes up for a battery electric category because it has electric spark plugs?? come on :)
        battery electric drive is the one thing all the car makers are now doing yet Shell forgot to include the category..

        of course Shell is greenwashing. when they are willing to destroy political development in a country so they can continue to get their oil, then they don't honestly host tournaments for the betterment of the world.
        • 4 Years Ago
        quintessential
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks, we need more bible quotes here on autoblog jihad
        • 4 Years Ago
        the reason they don't have battery drive is the one I have given.
        they have plenty of fuels on their list that don't exist and need to be produced from something else.
        it's ok to be a noob but try asking honest questions of those who know better instead of just stating things you know nothing about. learn first. then speak with authority.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Solar power doesn't use fossil fuels does it? Last I checked, nope...
        And what about combustion engines? From what I am thinking of, that is an engine that uses natural gases found in the atmosphere to power the vehicle. I believe the combustion part involves electricity and puts out a very small amount of exhaust, also in a much less harmful form, that will return to the atmosphere.
        I agree, there should be an electric category, but Shell does not appear to be GreenWashing as they do offer several non-fossil-fuel burning options for designs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Brother J, you can just measure the electrical power going into the car. no fuel need be involved. especially not if the power comes from windmills, waterfalls or solar panels.

        a cars 'mileage' can be stated as Wh/km.
        even when powered from coal plants the CO2 per kilometer is still significantly less than a gas car. and of course we have to get off coal. all coal plants must close or run on synthetic fuel produced from CO2 free sources like wind, water and sun.

        electric drive is the easy way to become free of net CO2 emission. it is the way and the only way. it is our savior :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        yeah Shell is our savior. how could I have overlooked that big picture.. :)

        Shell is the quientesential evil corporation. just google a bit of their history, good story about how they had a politician killed because he was objecting to Shell's destruction and polution of their land and the people were with him. so he was wasted. true story.
        that's Shell.

        we can easily get rid of fossil oil. in all aspects of life. cars, plastic. and most certainly battery production.
        battery electric cars is an easy way to get completely CO2 free. in all aspects of the biggest picture.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The reason they couldnt have batteries as a category is because like many people have said the power needs to come from somewhere and the goal was to find a renewable energy source not to just continue using those resources we already have to recharge our batteries. While solar, wind and other "green" power sources could be used to charge them it would cost billions to make that available to everyone.Batteries also create a lot of waste products to create and dont last forever. Also change takes time we cant expect all people to change or to even care that the fuels we are using are harming the environment. So the goal of the event was to see what fuel types were comparable to gasoline in effiency and availability.
        Realisticly if we had cars run on batteries we would need some sort of on board power system to supply the batteries with more electricity as you drove. It would be like a prius but with solar panels, a hydrogen fuel cell, or some other form power supply.
        • 4 Years Ago
        BTW - despite plastic bodies and no airbags, these vehicles ARE significant - if 2,000 miles per gallon is possible - with a motorcar designed by school boys - then, certainly, Ford and GM - with all their computers and MIT engineers - can build a vehicle that "only" gets 35 miles per gallon!
        • 4 Years Ago
        dan, no I'm sober and quite intelligent and wise.
        even from coal electric cars emit less CO2 and more importantly coal has to go.
        Imagine if you had thought before assuming I was wrong. what a notion
        • 4 Years Ago
        hehe yes part of it is pretty cool but that's how they fool you. they count on you being mentally vacuous enough to only apply one value to the event, good or bad. most don't take the few seconds of thought to see it for what it is, good promoted by evil as a cover.
        same with the darpa grand challenge robotic cars contest. university after university of supposedly intellgent people signed up with great enthusiasme to participate because it was fun to build potent machines but never did they stop to realize the obvious that they were building machines designed to making killing more efficient.

        same with the news, fox news sheep watch the news under the vacuous assumption that it is the news and the news dont lie.
        you have to think.

        behold I send you out as sheep amidst the wolves. be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
        I read that somewhere
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dan, the exclusion of battery-electric drive is probably because the electricity is stored energy and was likely produced somewhere else by burning fossil fuel with coal being the most likely candidate. It's probably very difficult to measure the fuel efficiency of such a vehicle without being able to say for sure how the energy was produced. The only easy way I can think of is to hook it up to a gas or diesel generator to recharge it and measure how much fuel the generator used. Or a windmill. In any case, all the other vehicles were self-contained insofar as they were ale to generate energy from fuel they carried on board or were able to produce (solar).
        • 4 Years Ago
        Honestly I don't think name calling is appropriate here. Also I do know what I'm talking about because I was actually In the event. I spent all year doing research on things like this. The purpose of the event was to find a fuel that could be distributed and sold to the public that cam be created easily or is in a higher abundance. I know what your saying that shell and other oil companies are going to milk every last cent out of oil before we are forced to make the switch. This is because like most companies they are there to protect their stock holders and to make money. And we are actually releasing some cars in the next few years that do run on batteries but they require recharging stations. And until we can make the complete switch the electricity will come from fossil fuels. We are slowly making the change over to renewable sources but we can't make the change in the short amount of time that many want.
        sixpackdan
        • 4 Years Ago
        Are you drunk or hi?....USA gets 50% of its electricity from coal. Last i checked coal IS a fossil fuel!!!!!!!!!! We do NOT have the infrastructure to support an electric car fleet, it really is that simple. Never mind its totally useless for long distance driving.
        • 4 Years Ago
        doesn't involve fossil fuels?, Remember the bigger picture, everything involves fossil fuels at one state or another. Maybe they put that req in because they realize that creating batteries, and charging said batteries burns just as much fossil fuel as driving your car, plus it requires extra strip mining to create the batteries. Sounds like a great deal, saving the planet one rechargeable battery at a time, but until people start looking at the bigger picture (as shell is doing) we aren't going to get any greener.

        plus if you can eliminate the battery from the loop, and turn the energy straight from solar into go juice, you are being green. or yellow if you will. There you are using the suns energy to drive your car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Shell Oil WILL produce batteries: when the last drop of oil is pumped!

        And it is not just Shell that is pure evil: ALL PETROLEUM COMPANIES ARE PART OF THE OLIGARCHY - we are, in reality, not a democracy, but ruled by the Saudi Kings - the true rulers of the western states.

        That said - good petrol economy, good fuel mileage - this IS a good goal to pursue - in tandem with new, not petrol technologies.

        Again, Shell WILL become a believer - when -not "if" - the oil runs out - a day of reckoning which is getting closer and closer...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Even still, it's kinda cool to hear about this, dontcha think?

        And i bet you get all excited about those fiberglass bodies ;)
      wIL
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why only a 100 mile limit. There surely musy be an alternatgor or generator that can be put someplace on his car and make it self sustaining.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think it's a good exercise though obviously not practical. No car like that would ever pass the safety standards required, so not really a fair comparison. However, it is most definitely the programming of the modern cars that prevents bigger gains of mileage. We have lighter cars, more efficient engines, tons of sensors and the ability to change engine operating parameters in a microsecond, yet we still get the same mileage as 40 years ago?
      These engines are "de-tuned" to a nice average setting...not optimum performance or mileage.
      We have found with our on demand hydrogen kits that some manufacturers programming responds really well to a hybrid fuel (like the Hyundai for example), while some American cars just fight the results all the way. We can have the same hydrogen generator in 2 different cars with the same size engine, and one will get 67% increase, and the other has trouble getting past 15%. One customer will battle to get 10% savings, and another will get 85% with very little trouble.
      The one thing that seems to be consistent is the car computer programming. Seems some companies are trying to make it impossible to see mileage gains... I wonder why?
      You can see the results I'm talking about here if you want on our blog... http://hhokitsdirect.com/articles/
      We may not be able to match what these guys did- but we can certainly do our part to help...
      Oh, and in case you were wondering about the emissions reduction- we have some recent proof there too: http://hhokitsdirect.com/articles/hho-kits/car-emissions-drop-like-a-rock-using-our-hho-generator.html
      • 4 Years Ago
      Remember, the batteries in those cars like prius and others are so toxic we wont even allow them to be made here in this country and they only have a 10 yr life span at best.Then what do u do with that bit o toxic waste? Not to mention the replacment cost.
      • 4 Years Ago
      abo and brother

      I'm with you. The electricity to charge the batteries has to come from somewhere and since the anti nuclear crowd (same group now all green and anti CO2) blocked the cleanest source of sustainable, dependable electricity in US. Therefore the electricity to charge "green" EV most likely comes from coal or natural gas and produce carbon emissions, just not directly at the vehicle which I guess makes the smug environmentalists all warm and fuzzy.
      Captain Wampler
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just imagine what the price of gasoline would be if all cars got 500 miles per gallon. It would be sold by the ounce, not by the gallon and would be more than gold.
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