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Fuel Cell Car Wins Shell Eco-marathon with Equivalent to 9,024 MPG


Hydrogen-powered cars were the most efficient on the road during a record-breaking weekend at the Shell Eco-marathon at the Nogaro Motor Circuit in Gers, France, but two gasoline-powered cars used less overall lifecycle energy for the vehicles and the fuel.

The Shell Eco-marathon challenges student teams to design and build an energy-efficient vehicle capable of completing around 25 km at a minimum average speed of 30 km/h. It culminates in a race to cover the longest distance with the least amount of energy.

The PAC-II hydrogen fuel-cell prototype (pictured at right) achieved a new record of 3,836 km/l (gasoline equivalent energy)—that’s 9,024 miles per gallon. Made by the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH), Switzerland, the PAC-II used 1.75 grams of hydrogen to travel 25.272 kilometers.

Six of the 200 vehicles entered this year used fuel cells, up from one two years ago and three in 2004. Winners of two other classes of fuel, diesel and LPG, said they will consider a switch to hydrogen next year.

Shell Eco-marathon Class Winners
FuelEntryEfficiency (km/l)Efficiency (mpg)
OverallETH Zürich (CH)3,8369,024
HydrogenETH Zürich (CH)3,8369,024
GasolineU. Paul Sabatier (FR)2,5606,022
DieselFachhochschule Offenberg (DE)1,8074,251
LPGAssociation Team Callo (FR)1,8044,244

More than 220 groups of 10 to 25-year-olds from 18 different countries took part in this year’s Eco-marathon. The top 30 teams will go through to the second stage of the event, to be held on June 25 and 26 at the Bibendum test track at the Michelin Technology Centre in Auvergne, France. The three winners from this go forward to the final event, at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, England on July 6 and 7.

General Nagoro results are available here.


Raul Angel

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