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Cal Poly Wins First Shell Eco-marathon Americas with 1,902.7 MPG

The Cal Poly vehicle: “Curb Hopper”. Click to enlarge.

The team from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo today won the first Shell Eco-marathon Americas with a gasoline-fueled combustion engine vehicle that delivered 1,902.7 mpg.

The Eco-marathon challenges student teams to design and build the most fuel-efficient vehicles, which are tested in a mileage challenge. 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. Shell has been running the current Eco-marathon for more than 20 years in the Europe and the UK, and brought a version of the event to the US for the first time this year.

The Eco-marathon Americas ran April 13 -14, 2007, at the California Speedway in Fontana, California.  Shell challenged the engineering students to drive their vehicles the farthest distance using the least amount of fuel, either conventional or alternative.

Twenty-three teams competed in the combustion engine category. Second-place went Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, IN) at 1,637.2 mpg, with third-place going to  Mater Dei High School (Evansville, IN) at 1,596 miles per gallon.

The Los Altos Academy of Engineering (Hacienda Heights, CA), the sole hydrogen engine entrant, came it with 1,038 mpg.

The 2007 European Shell Eco-marathon event is set to take place at the Nogaro Racing Circuit in the South of France on May 11-13, 2007. With more than 250 teams from educational institutions in 20 different countries, this year’s event is set to be the biggest ever. The teams are not only competing to break the European Shell Eco-marathon fuel efficiency record, but also competing for a host of other awards in various categories—from best Urban Concept vehicle (designed for normal road car use), to the most eco-friendly vehicle with the lowest emissions, best technical innovation, most impressive design and most effective communications campaign.




that high school should be really proud.

Not Even Close

Of course these guys aren't even close to the world record held by the Pac-Car II fuel cell vehicle. The Pac-Car II achieved the equivalent of 12,665 mpg.

You can read about it here:'2005-07-06'%7D

And here:


A bit off topic, but could someone explain how we can embed a link in the text rather than copy and paste? I looked for instructions on how to do this on the site and could not find them. - Thanks


<a href="URL">Link descriptive text</a>


The thing to remember is contests like these are designed to get high MPG numbers. You'll note I said "contests" and not cars. The mileage runs are made on closed level tracks at speeds you could reach while riding a bicycle. Even the amount of fuel they put into the cars for a run is measured in millilitres.

I think they should hold these contests so the cars meet the requirements of real world needs; able to reach highway speeds, ability to carry some cargo (such as a bag of golf clubs), hold enough fuel for a range of 1000km, etc.


The irony is the huge gap in performance between these cars and real ones. A racing car goes maybe 3x the speed of a real car, but these go 50 - 100x further on a liter of fuel.

Most of what we learn from these competitions is really not that useful (sadly).

Once you add in safety features, basic utility like 4 seats and a load bay, traffic, style and testosterone, you are back to square 1.

Solving the world's transport needs is as much a sociological problem as an engineering one.


that high school should be really proud.

Bob Lutz at GM should hire the students.


Maybe the students should replace Lutz :)


"Solving the world's transport needs is as much a sociological problem as an engineering one."

Part of that is getting people to see beyond the 'idealilized' TV advertizement needs and buy to meet their real statistical needs.
-The average commute is only 20mi both ways. By commute I mean going to work or shopping or golfing or beach, etc. So you only need more range to keep from having to buy gas every day.
-The average car on the freeway only has 1.6 people in it, even those 7 seat SUVs. So you only need 2 seats for most of your driving.
-testosterone is something best used in bed. So you only need enough speed to keep up with traffic.
-For most people the only "cargo" they'll be carrying in their cars is something they loaded by hand; groceries and the like.
-For those times when you really do need more room and/or power, well there's always the rental option.

Bruno Cipolla

You could check these (Pac Car)
Pac Car Technical images, Great!


... french high school kids (Nantes) have been doing it and setting new records for decades ... google micro cars ... keep in mind that these are not really 'cars' ... they are 20" tall and attain the incredible fast speed of 10-15mph, without air-bags, literally & figuratively: the driver is the lightest of the lot...


Here is my first attempt at posting a link, I tried to put it in the URL box as well, but no go.

PacCar Link

Thomas Pedersen

mahonj wrote:

The irony is the huge gap in performance between these cars and real ones. A racing car goes maybe 3x the speed of a real car, but these go 50 - 100x further on a liter of fuel.

Actually, they are racing at about 20 mph...

There is a maximum lap time that most contestants go as close to as they possibly can.


I can't get excited about projects that do not result in any real life application.

The goal should be the design/develop and mass produce cars w/ 100PMG.



You are obviously not the only person who feels the same way as evidenced by the Automotive X-Prize ($10Million grand prize).


Get real guys, what else do you expect from Shell.

This is one of many other attempt by big oil to create some positive image while actually doing nothing to solve the energy problem.


SM has it right, this is little more than an automotive dog and pony show.

I could go around their track faster on a bicycle, which of course gets better MPG. ;-)


testing, just wanted to see if i could post a link...

Automotive X PRIZE


Something closer to real situation is the
1-litre VW vehicle which can attain 100 km on one liter of diesel. This vehicle has an 8-hp single cylinder diesel engine and can carry two persons.


Yeah, we should not try to inspire high school and college students at all.


Sure we can, but let's inspire them to build something more than a fancy go-cart.
High school students have been building real cars for as long as I can remember. (heck my class built one and I couldn't even change a tyre without help)
check this out
better picture of car here


Sorry, meant to say 'better pictures of car here'


I googled the high school team...and i found a link to there site. Not much...but, its something.


Geez, there are some cynical people that read this site. I think it's totally awesome to be doing this sort of thing at the university level, and even more so in high school. When it comes to education these days, any inspiration to get students to study math and science in high school should be applauded loudly regardless of who the sponsor is.

Whoever the high school teacher is for that third place entry, I'd say to them that whatever they're getting paid they should get a big raise. And from a working engineer to the students, I'd just say... awesome! That and that they should all consider careers in science and engineering... or teaching.



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