|Some of the vehicles in the 2009 Shell Eco-Marathon Americas. Click to enlarge.
The student team from Laval University (Quebec, Canada) took the grand prize in the “Prototype” category at the 2009 Shell Eco-Marathon Americas, held 15-18 April at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA, with 2,757.1 miles per gallon (0.085 L/100km). The team from Mater Dei High School (Evansville, Ind.) took the grand prize in the new “UrbanConcept” by achieving 433.3 mpg (0.543 L/100km).
More than 500 students in 44 participating teams participated in the event, a challenge for students to design, build and test fuel-efficient vehicles that travel the farthest distance using the least amount of fuel. The 44 teams were from six high schools and 29 universities from North and South America, including Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States. Additionally, a guest team from India joined the roster with a Prototype vehicle.
This year’s challenge brought together a number of returning teams striving to beat the 2,843 mpg (0.083 L/100km) record set by Mater Dei High School in 2008, combined with a number of new teams adding fresh innovation and vehicle designs to the competition.
This year, student teams were invited to participate in either the Prototype or UrbanConcept categories. For the Prototype category, teams entered futuristic prototypes—streamlined vehicles focused on maximizing fuel efficiency through innovative design elements, such as drag reduction. For the UrbanConcept category, teams entered more roadworthy fuel-efficient vehicles. Aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers, these vehicles are closer in appearance to the cars seen on roads today. For both categories, teams could use any conventionally available energy source, including fuels such as diesel, gasoline and liquid petroleum gas (LPG), as well as alternative fuels such as hydrogen, biomass and solar.
The Prototype entries included 28 vehicles powered by combustion engines, five by fuel cell/hydrogen technology, three by LPG, three by solar power, and two by diesel fuel. The UrbanConcept entries included two vehicles powered by combustion engines and one by solar power.
Category winners for the 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas include:
Prototype. Grand Prize - Combustion Engine. With mileage of 2,757.1 mpg, the Alerion Supermileage team from Laval University in Quebec, Canada won a US$5,000 grand prize with their vehicle, NTF 3.0.
Prototype. Fuel Cell/Hydrogen. The Penn State University team from University Park, Pa. achieved 1,912.9 mpg in its Blood, Sweat & Gears vehicle.
Prototype. Solar Power. The Purdue Solar Racing team from Purdue University took first place with its solar vehicle, Pulsar, which achieved 4,913 mpg.
UrbanConcept. Grand Prize - Combustion Engine. With mileage of 433.3 mpg, the Mater Dei Supermileage Team from Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Ind. won a US$5,000 grand prize with their vehicle, Street Buggy.
Eco-Design Award. A special Eco-Design Award was presented to the UCLA team for their Prototype design. Their special design not only contributed to the fuel efficiency of their vehicle, but incorporated recycled and eco-friendly materials into the vehicle and production process.
Safety. The Safety Award recognized three teams who made the most extensive efforts to comply with the safety regulations of the Shell Eco-marathon Americas. This award went to UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Grand Rapids Technical School and Loyola Marymount University. These teams all demonstrated safety as a top priority in vehicle designs and construction.
Technical Innovation. This award was presented to three teams who demonstrated outstanding initiative and technical ingenuity along with optimal use of new materials in the drive train, chassis, instrumentation and tires. First prize was awarded to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, second prize to Purdue University and third prize to California Polytechnic State University.
Design. The 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas Design Award was presented to the Brazilian team from Minas Gerais State University. This award recognized their innovative design research related to ergonomics, aesthetics, choice of materials and technical feasibility. The originality and overall coherence of their design were also taken into account.
Communications. This award recognized the Dalhousie University team from Canada, who made outstanding communications efforts concerning the Shell Eco-marathon. All actions throughout the year are taken into account: participation at trade shows, creation of a Web site and all other activities that successfully promote the competition, its name, its founding principle, its educational aspects, etc. in the team's country of origin.
Best Team Spirit. The Best Team Spirit Award was presented to the George M. Schurr High School team who fostered cooperation and collaboration among their team and others at the competition. Not only did they demonstrate initiative to learn more about other teams and contribute to the morale at the competition, they lent a tire to another team and helped a team in need whose car wasn’t ready to compete by loaning them one of their vehicles to participate in the challenge.
Perseverance in the Face of Adversity. The Perseverance in the Face of Adversity Award was presented to two teams: Chitkara Institute of Engineering & Technology in India and Louisiana State University. Both teams overcame many obstacles in order to make it to the Shell Eco-marathon Americas. The team from India not only traveled a very far distance to participate in the event, they also battled many issues with their vehicle, and the team from LSU overcame the loss of a team member, who passed away last year. The team dedicated their Shell Eco-marathon project to this team member, even naming their vehicle after her, Ellen.
The 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas event sponsors included Autodesk, Michelin, Pennzoil and SKF USA Inc.
Shell has been running the Shell Eco-marathon in Europe for nearly 25 years. In 2007, the event was brought to the Americas. Shell Eco-Marathon Europe will be held 7-9 May at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz track in Germany, he Shell Eco-marathon Youth Challenge UK will take place on 30 June to 1 July 2009 at Rockingham Motor Speedway, and the first Eco-Marathon Asia will be held in Malaysia in July 2010.