April 16, 2007

California team wins first Shell Eco-marathon Americas

Fontana, California – A team from California Polytechnic State University has won the first Shell Eco-marathon Americas, driving a gasoline-powered vehicle that delivered 1,902.7 mpg (US).

The Shell Eco-marathon started as the Shell Mileage Marathon in 1939, after a friendly wager between employees of Shell Oil’s research laboratory in Illinois as to whose car could get better fuel mileage. The event has run for 20 years in Europe and the UK, but ran for the first time in the U.S. on April 12-15 at the California Speedway in Fontana, California.

Twenty-three teams competed in the combustion engine category, with second place going to the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana with 1,637.2 mpg, and third to Mater Dei High School in Indiana at 1,596 mpg.

The sole hydrogen engine entrant, fielded by the Los Altos Academy of Engineering on California, reached 1,038 mpg.

Teams of up to eight students build three- or four-wheeled prototype vehicles, using conventional or alternative fuels. The winning team’s school receives a grand prize of US$10,000; for the American event, Shell offered a US$10,000 reimbursement to each of the first five educational institutions to participate, to help cover the cost of the vehicle’s construction.

The most recent record was set at the 2003 event in Rockingham, England by a French team, which achieved 10,705 mpg. The 2007 European Shell Eco-marathon will take place at the Nogaro Racing Circuit in France on May 11-13, 2007, with more than 250 teams from 20 countries.

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