The Shell Eco-marathon is coming back to the US as the Shell Eco-marathon Americas. The Eco-marathon concept started as the Shell Mileage Marathon in 1939 after a friendly wager between employees of Shell Oil’s research laboratory in Wood River, Illinois, as to whose car could get the better fuel mileage.
The Shell Eco-marathon Americas will culminate at a four-day event held April 12–15, 2007, at the California Speedway in Fontana, California. Teams comprised of up to eight students build prototype vehicles with three or four wheels using conventional or alternative fuels such as gasoline, liquid petroleum gas, biofuels, compressed natural gas or hydrogen.
The Shell Eco-marathon Americas offers a grand prize of $10,000 that will be awarded to the educational institution or university whose student team completes the farthest distance with the least amount of fuel. There are also first, second and third prizes to vehicles in three categories.
Shell is offering a $10,000 reimbursement to each of the first five educational institutions or universities whose teams register to participate and compete in the event with a conventional fuel, alternative fuel or hydrogen vehicle. The money is intended to help each school cover the cost of their vehicle’s construction.
The most recent Shell Eco-marathon record was set at the 2003 Rockingham, England, event by team Microjoule from St Sebastien/Loire in France. They achieved a fuel consumption figure of 10,705 miles per gallon—beating the previous record set by the same team in 2001 by nearly 500 miles per gallon.