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Tuesday, March 7, 2017
A TEAM OF student engineers from a Canadian college have built a car that could get you from Caribou, ME to San Diego on a single gallon of gas.
Not that you’d want to. See, the 3,587 mpg bobsled-on-wheels was built as part of Shell’s Eco-marathon Americas, in which high school and college students compete to built energy-efficient vehicles. It’s the fourth time in five years that students from Quebec’s Université Laval won in the prototype gasoline category, breaking the competition’s record for most efficient gasoline vehicle. It’s also an important validation for the team, who bowed out of last year’s trials amidst engine trouble.
“We took our frustrations from last year’s event and used them as motivation to return better than ever,” said Laval team manager Philippe Bouchard. “We trained our new team members and spent twice as much time fine-tuning the engine and building the car.”
Laval’s feat was certainly impressive, but it’s only the best result in North and South America. In the European Eco-marathon, a French team hit 8,914 back in 2003. That record still stands.
The numbers are a little lower — but still substantial — in the UrbanConcept category. It asks students to build road-worthy cars complete with running lights, a steering wheel, a brake pedal and four wheels — a rule that would immediately disqualify the Reliant Robin.
Getting top honors was the UrbanConcept car from Mater Dei High School in Evansville, IN which got 849.2 mpg. Their car looks kind of like an unholy cross between a Talbot Lagoand a Corbin Sparrow, but it’s not about design, it’s about science.