Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas
On a sunny, at times windy weekend in downtown Houston, TX, 131 vehicles competed in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013, racing round and round Discovery Green for two full days. All told, they used like a gallon of gasoline.

The headline winner rocked 3,587 miles per gallon, which was the winning result from Quebec's Université Laval in the gasoline prototype category. The Purdue team we spoke with over the weekend did, in fact win in the EV urban concept category, with 78.1 mi/kWh in their tricky solar-powered EV. Mater Dei, which did well in previous years, also won, but only in two categories: prototype EV (600.1 mi/kWh), urban concept gasoline (849.2 mpg). Last year, the school won four and competed with four vehicles again this year – in case you were wondering if the competition remains fierce.

140 vehicles came to the event, but only 131 managed to pass inspection and participate.

You can read our on-site reports here and here. As we learned in Texas, the challenge wasn't just on the track, since it takes a lot just to get to the starting line. 140 vehicles came to the event, but only 131 managed to pass inspection and participate in the competition. There are two main categories – urban concept and prototype (the main difference is the number of wheels, four vs. three) – and six categories within in each of those: gasoline, battery electric (which includes solar), gasoline alternative (not available in urban concept), diesel, alternative diesel and hydrogen. There were also off-track awards, including the eco-design award for the bamboo car from Houston's West Side High School. A complete list of winners can be found here (PDF). The overall Shell Eco-marathon record is 8,914 mpg, which was set by a French team in 2003. Later this year, Shell will host two other Eco-marathon events, one in Europe and one in Asia. Next year, an Africa/Middle East event will be added to the roster.
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Université Laval Regains Fuel-Efficiency Title

08 Apr 2013

131 Vehicles Participated In 7th Annual Challenge Where Success Is Measured By Distance, Not Speed

The federal government, which touts its historic 54.5 miles-per-gallon fuel-efficient standard for 2025 model year autos, might want to rethink that mark.

It's downright puny compared to what a team of students from Quebec's Université Laval achieved today as its vehicle traveled a mind-boggling 3,587 miles on a single gallon of gasoline at the 7th annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013 competition. It was the highest mileage ever achieved for both Université Laval and the Americas challenge.

This was the fourth year in the last five that the Canadian team has dominated the competition, which attracted more than 1,000 students from across the Americas. Last year's winner, a team from Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Ind., placed second with a best run of 2,308 mpg on the track through the streets of downtown Houston.

Some 131 vehicles competed this year in various categories for the $2,000 first prize, with the Université Laval achievement – nearly 1,300 mpg better than Mater Dei's showing last year – astounding the other competitors and spectators who watched the weekend's events. On Saturday, in an earlier run, the Laval vehicle achieved 3,001 mpg, a record at the time. Teams competed from Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States.
'Truly Remarkable' MPG Achievement

"What the Laval team accomplished is truly remarkable and it underscores the long way our own cars and trucks can go to improve their fuel efficiency," said Mark Singer, global project manager of Shell Eco-marathon. "Each year, dedicated high school and university student teams astonish us with the advances they make in achieving unheard-of fuel-efficiency improvements."

In 2012, the Laval team shocked participants, but that time it was for not even completing a qualifying run.

"We took our frustrations from last year's event and used them as motivation to return better than ever," said Philippe Bouchard, Laval team manager. "We trained our new team members and spent twice as much time fine-tuning the engine and building the car."

Global Record of 8,914 mpg Still Stands

While astounding, Université Laval's winning mark – achieved in the Prototype category for internal combustion vehicles – didn't break the all-time record of 8,914 mpg by a French team in 2003. Besides the Americas competition in Houston, the Shell Eco-marathon, also occurs annually in Europe and Asia and involves thousands of students from dozens of countries.

Mater Dei High took top honors again this year in the UrbanConcept category, with a winning mark of 849 miles per gallon of gasoline. Second place went to the Louisiana Tech University team whose vehicle achieved 335 miles per gallon of diesel fuel.

For both vehicle categories, teams can use either internal combustion or e-mobility energy sources, which include diesel, gasoline, ethanol, FAME, solar, hydrogen and battery electric technologies.

Download the full list of categories and winners from the event.

Minnesota Team Again Goes Hollywood

For the past three years, the Wolves on Wheels team from St. Paul's School of Covington, Minn., have sported a movie theme for the challenge. Last year, the team turned heads with its secret agent Angus MacGyver-inspired UrbanConcept vehicle "Mac Daddy." This year, true to form, the team modeled two of their vehicles after the movies "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "Back to the Future."

"Our team really wanted to show that you can have a fuel-efficient car that also looks cool," said team captain Marcus Garner. The body of the team's vehicle is a close approximation of the famous stainless steel DeLorean used in the "Back to the Future" movies, complete with blue lights, silver paint and gull-wing doors. The doors proved a challenge but, explains Garner, "There was no way we weren't going to make the doors work – they make the car!"

Competitors Pull Together

To say the least, it proved a rough journey to Houston for the team from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. Air transport restrictions required the team to ship its car without an engine.

Enter the team from Schurr High School of Montebello, Calif. As Shell Eco-marathon Americas veterans, team advisor Armando Hernandez and his students offered the Guatemalans a spare engine and transportation around Houston to purchase additional parts.

"We know how much effort goes into the vehicles and competition, so it would be sad to see others make it all this way and not be able to participate," said Leonardo Lopez, a Schurr team member. For their part, members of the Guatemalan team were overwhelmed by the hospitality, generosity and camaraderie, said Andrés Hernández, its team manager, adding: "It feels like home."

Teams Face Tough Tech Inspection

The George R. Brown Convention Center bustled with activity over the weekend as teams worked tirelessly on their vehicles to pass through the comprehensive technical inspection. Top engineers from Michelin worked with the student teams leading up to the starting line to ensure the vehicles they built met every safety requirement and were as road-ready as possible.

Inspections can reveal bigger design flaws requiring changes to be made on-the-fly. The electric vehicle team from Saint Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, Minn., traveled more than 1,000 miles to Houston only to find out that they were four inches (10 centimeters) too long.

"Our car was too long. We had to choose between going on the track as noncompeting participants or making a modification, and we wanted to compete in our first trip here," said one team member. The team used a hacksaw to bob its car's tail down to competition requirements. "We should have measured it before we came!" joked another team member.

New All-Girls Team Makes its Mark

Since 2010, the ShopGirls team of Granite Falls High School in Washington has been the only all-girl team to compete. They had company this year when the Doves Under the Hood team from St. Scholastica Academy of Covington, La., competed. The veterans welcomed the newcomers with greetings and gifts before the event.

"We were excited to learn about the other all-girl team," said Dansil Green, ShopGirls' team manager and driver. The teams shared a common goal: to show that an all-girl team can be serious competitors in a technology-driven event largely dominated by males.

More than 4,000 Houstonians came out to see Shell Eco-marathon Americas and experience the Shell Energy Lab. It was an interactive exhibit that demonstrated how the work of Shell Eco-marathon Americas participants is just one of many inspiring efforts using innovation to solve energy challenges and keep the world moving in cleaner, more energy efficient ways.

For a behind the scenes look, check out the Road to Houston video series.
For more information on all 2013 events across the globe, including the complete Americas 2013 results, please visit the Shell Eco-marathon website at www.shell.com/ecomarathon.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      Joseph Brody
      • 1 Year Ago
      I like to see all those lightweight bike parts! I would love to see a Human Powered Vehicle leave these vehicles in there dust. If you carefully look at the history of transportation, all the key technologies for the car came from bicycles - pneumatic tires, ball bearings, differentials, wire spokes, lightweight tubing, gear and chain transmissions even speed limits! The idea for personal transportation rather than public came from bicycles. Even improved paved roads came from strong lobbying from LAW, the League of American Wheelman. Mass assembly lines production came from Henery Ford? No, a lot of car builders were ex-bike builders were bike demand BOOMED in the 1890s.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joseph Brody
        I think the world record for a pedal powered velomobile is something like 70-80 miles per hour currently. In a more comfortable, non-race configuration, 30-40mph speeds on pedal power is realistic for most people due to the massive aerodynamic advantage. So these things have already been left in the dust :) I heard about the league of american wheelmen. I wish we had groups like that today still.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Extremely cool, but pointless when you think about it. The rest of the world will continue driving 3,000lb steel boxes which achieve about a hundredth of that fuel economy. Makes you wonder why none of this stuff has panned out to reality? We have velomobile bicycles that can produce this kinda fuel economy on electric or gas power, but nobody wants 'em!
        Giza Plateau
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Noone has ever tried making one suitable for road use. Nor anything under 1ton. This for instance is very possible and would sell quite well: http://www.zev.dk/design/Speedster.jpg
          Giza Plateau
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          karl, it's similar form factor but that doesn't mean Lotus will build it. It has to be built independent of those overpriced incompetent companies. The 25000$ is obvious 2500 dollars. And it can indeed easily be profitable at that sale price. The low weight and aerodynamics allows a small battery and total low cost yet high performance. I call that notion supergreen. Read the specs over and over until you understand. I assure you it can be done. It is just a concept, the car doesn't exist anywhere nor is it being produced. It should be but the world is populated by fools.
          Giza Plateau
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          it should say obviously 25000 dollars. stupid edit
          karlInSanDiego
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          Giza, that's a Tesla/Elise under a new skin, which was never cheaper than $45k(US) in Lotus Elise gas guise. Not sure what the 25,000$ currency is supposed to represent (definitely not krone). Also Tesla was significantly heavier than the Elise because it had a long range battery, but you'd be hard pressed to make a full electric on that Lotus chassis that's 400 kilos lighter than 900kg Lotus Elise or 600 kilos lighter than the 1230 kg Tesla Roadster. Is that just a stunt photo/specs or is it actually a real vehicle that is "ungoogleable"? Remember, you can't quote the cost to produce the car, but what it could be sold for, including warranty, liability, dealers, salesmen, marketing etc.
          Giza Plateau
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          karl, try to understand that it's a simple small car. why should that be much more expensive than an Audi A8.. or 4 times as much as a GMC Terrain. Or ten times as much as a Nissan Versa sedan. people don't think. I do.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          dude.... get to makin' it :)
      goodoldgorr
      • 1 Year Ago
      My car is a small econobox and do 1/100 of 3,587 mpg. Congratulation to the teams.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      So how slow do they go? I guess I should read the rules. If they are driving ridiculously slow, it is a pointless statistic. I guess those solar racers can get infinite MPG as long as the sun is up.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      How is that even possible? 1 gallon could propel me from coast to coast? You couldn't even do that with a gas powered bicycle. How does that work? Did they give someone 1 gallon and they drove 3 thousand 5 hundred and 87 miles?!?!
        Joseph Brody
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        To get coast to coast you would have to climb a lot of mountains too. That climbing along with the mentioned regular speeds would lower fuel economy a lot.
          paulwesterberg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joseph Brody
          Also it would take you 8.6 days of continuous driving to travel 3,000 miles at 14.5mph.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Easy. Aerodynamics. Air resistance eats amazing amounts of power. Wind resistance follows a cube law. It's a real pain in the b hole.. And yeah, upright bicycles have *horrendous* coefficients of drag, that's why all bike racing is done with a bunch of dudes who have their leg hair, lean forward, and wear spandex, just to drop their cD and frontal area as much as possible. I built an cargo bike that's capable of doing 50mph... the bike was set up for a straight back upright position ( like those dutch cruiser bikes ), oh my god my watt usage was off the charts at 50mph. 500 watts to cruise at 18mph.. 5000 watts to cruise at 47mph. lol.
          paulwesterberg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Each lap is 0.6 miles, and they must complete 10 laps(6 miles) in 24mins 45seconds. So the vehicles are required to have a minimum average speed of 14.5mph(23.3kph) which is about the speed of an average person pedaling a road bike. Meanwhile solar racers in Australia can easily maintain 110kph, the rules were updated in 2006 to limit vehicle speeds. Meanwhile the maximum Human powered velomobile speed record is 133 km/h.
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