2,487 miles per gallon? The Shell Eco-marathon

Shell eco marathon start

An ambitious group of students from across the Americas have spent the weeks and months leading up to April preparing for an important test. The test? To push the boundaries of fuel efficiency and see which team can go the farthest using the least amount of energy at Shell Eco-marathon Americas, taking place April 14-17, 2011 on the streets of downtown Houston.

Shell Eco-marathon is part of Shell’s “Smarter Mobility” program, which is aimed at meeting the needs of today’s drivers as society faces an increasing demand on energy for transport. The competition isn’t about finishing first or breaking speed records. Instead, the winner is the team that designs and builds the vehicle that travels the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. Last year’s winning team from Canada achieved an astonishing 2,487 miles per gallon!

Some of the schools participating in the fifth year of Shell Eco-marathon Americas include California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; Colorado School of Mines; Mater Dei High School; Purdue University; Penn State University; University of California, Los Angeles; and University of Houston.

From vehicle design to financing, student teams manage their projects from start to finish. The winning teams in both the Prototype and UrbanConcept classes receive a grand prize of $5,000 for their school. Shell will also have several “off-track” awards again this year, including a “People’s Choice Award,” the “Safety Award,” “Technical Innovation Award” sponsored by Southwest Research and “Eco-Design Award,” sponsored by Autodesk, among others.