Universite Laval Regains Shell Eco-marathon Americas Fuel-Efficiency Title
With 3,587 MPG
131 VEHICLES PARTICIPATED IN 7TH ANNUAL CHALLENGE WHERE SUCCESS IS MEASURED BY
DISTANCE, NOT SPEED
HOUSTON, April 8, 2013
HOUSTON, April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. 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 Universite Laval achieved
today as its vehicle traveled a mind-boggling 3,587 miles on a single gallon
of gasoline at the 7^th annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013 competition.
It was the highest mileage ever achieved for both Universite Laval and the
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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 Universite 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, Universite 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, 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. (For a full list of
categories and winners from the event, click here.)
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 in Misfortune
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 Andres Hernandez, its team manager, adding: "It feels like
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
"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 7,000 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
About Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group
of energy and petrochemical companies with 93,000 employees in more than 90
countries. We deliver a diverse range of energy solutions and petrochemicals
to customers worldwide. These include transporting and trading oil and gas,
marketing natural gas, producing and selling fuel for ships and planes,
generating electricity and providing energy efficiency advice.
We also produce and sell petrochemical building blocks to industrial customers
globally, and we are investing in making renewable and lower-carbon energy
sources competitive for large-scale use. In the U.S., we operate in 50 states
and employ more than 20,000 people delivering energy in a responsible manner.
About Shell Eco-marathon
Shell Eco-marathon is a global program that challenges high school and college
student teams to design, build and test the most energy-efficient vehicles.
With annual events in the Americas, Europe and Asia, this innovation
competition pushes future scientists and engineers to travel the farthest
distance using the least amount of energy. Visit
www.shell.com/ecomarathon/americas to learn more about this program.
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