Racers Fall Short of Mileage Record at Shell Eco-marathons
May 23, 2007
A record fuel economy set in 2003 continues to stand, as the best competitors in the United States and Europe have fallen short. At the 2007 European Shell Eco-marathon—held in Nogaro, France, from May 11th to the 13th—the winning team from St. Joseph La Joliverie in France traveled 3,039 kilometers on a liter of fuel, the equivalent of 7,152 miles per gallon. That fell far short of the record 10,705 miles per gallon set by a team from the same school back in 2003. This year's event also featured solar cars and hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars, with the best hydrogen car achieving the equivalent of 6,583 miles per gallon of gasoline.
Although fuel cell vehicles fell short of internal combustion engines during steady running on a track, the sole fuel cell entry in a new urban competition far outshone its gasoline-fueled competitors. Back in 2003, Shell introduced the "UrbanConcept" category, which includes vehicles with more practical designs that could potentially be used on actual urban streets. This year, for the first time, Shell added mandatory pit stops as a way of simulating the stop-and-go traffic of urban driving. Even under such constraints, a fuel cell vehicle achieved the equivalent of 1,311 miles per gallon of gasoline, while the best gasoline-fueled entry achieved 720 miles per gallon. See the European Shell Eco-marathon Web site.
While the European event featured more than 250 teams from 20 countries, the first Shell Eco-marathon Americas drew only 17 teams from the United States and Canada. The event, held in Fontana, California, on April 13th and 14th, was won by a team from California Polytechnic State University, which achieved 1,902.7 miles per gallon in the race, far short of its European rivals. Shell's final event of the year, the Shell Eco-marathon UK, will be held on July 4th and 5th in Corby, England. See the Shell press release and Eco-marathon Web site.