Students Put Energy Efficient Cars to the Test at Shell Eco-marathon Americas
SONOMA, Calif. (April 7, 2019) – Make the Future Live California featuring Shell Eco-marathon Americas drew more than 1,000 students to Sonoma Raceway to compete for the title of most fuel-efficient vehicle.
Northern Illinois University of DeKalb, Illinois took home first place in the Internal Combustion Engine Prototype category with their gasoline-fueled vehicle achieving 1,524 miles per gallon. This was the college’s first time winning the Shell Eco-marathon Americas Mileage Challenge competition.
“This award means everything to our team,” said Josh Helsper, team leader of Northern Illinois University. “It validates all the engineering we’ve learned and the work we’ve done.”
Mater Dei High School broke the United States UrbanConcept record in the Battery Electric category with a 68.2 miles per kilowatt-hour run. The high school has participated in every Mileage Challenge since the inaugural Americas competition in 2007.
This year, a total of 88 high school and college teams from across the Americas including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States, participated in the competition, in two vehicle classes: Prototype and UrbanConcept. The Prototype class is focused on ultra-efficient, lightweight designs, typically with 3 wheels. The UrbanConcept class focused on more “roadworthy” vehicles aimed at meeting some of the real-life needs of drivers. Entries were divided into three energy categories: Internal Combustion Engine (gasoline, diesel and ethanol), Hydrogen Fuel Cell and Battery Electric.
“These students have dedicated countless hours to developing solutions that support a cleaner, lower-carbon energy future,” said Shanna Simmons, Global Technical Director Shell Eco-marathon. “The mileage challenge is a platform for students to test their theories on energy efficiency and receive hands-on experience before entering the workforce.”
The Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2019 Winning Teams
Student teams worked intensively from Wednesday to Saturday to pass detailed technical and safety inspections before heading to the iconic Sonoma Raceway track for the Mileage Challenge. Each team’s vehicle was required to make eight laps for a total distance of 6.12 miles within 24 minutes. The winners in each class follow, based on vehicle class and energy category:
- Prototype Internal Combustion Engine: “NIU Supermileage,” Northern Illinois University, 1524.9 mpg
- Prototype Battery Electric: “Eco Illini Supermileage,” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 152.0 m/kWh
- Prototype Hydrogen Fuel Cell sponsored by Linde: “Ualberta EcoCar Prototype Team,” University of Alberta, 159.8 m/m3
- UrbanConcept Internal Combustion Engine: “Wawasee Gold,” Wawasee High School, 680.7 mpg
- UrbanConcept Battery Electric: “Mater Dei Supermileage 2,” Mater Dei High School, 68.2 m/kWh
Student teams also won awards for their work off the track, in the following categories:
- Technical Innovation Award sponsored by Southwest Research Institute: BYU SMV, Brigham Young University implemented a system to quickly optimize the air-fuel ratio over a short engine burn time. The optimization is meant to achieve better fuel economy and reduce harmful emissions.
- Most Innovative H2 Award sponsored by Linde: Ualberta EcoCar Prototype Team, University of Alberta was awarded this off-track award for the customized controller built for their hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle.
- Communications Award: LA Tech EcoCar, Louisiana Tech University submitted an integrated communication plan with clear objectives, audience and content strategy, multi-channel tactics and measurable analytics.
- Vehicle Design Award for Prototype: Pato a Jato, Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná used an eco-friendly plant-based resin and biodegradable material made with a 3D printer. The car is painted yellow, which was chosen to reflect light better than darks colors, decreasing the internal temperature.
- Vehicle Design Award for UrbanConcept: LA Tech EcoCar, Louisiana Tech University pushed the envelope in design. They paid attention to detail including mounted LED lights inside the body of the car for a sleeker and more aerodynamic look.
- Safety Award: Texas A&M University had a high-quality submission and went into great detail on their processes to ensure their car and driver were safe. Ultimately, they chose driver safety over and above track performance and chose not to take an additional risk to complete a last attempt.
- Perseverance and Spirit of the Event Award: EEV at Sac State, California State University, Sacramento. This team was organized, funded and managed entirely by students with minimal support from the school. The team included students from diverse engineering disciplines with a clear delineation of roles, while still working collaboratively.
- Southwest Research Institute Scholarship Winners: $1,000 scholarships were awarded to three students from University of California, Berkeley; Rice University; and San Antonio College.
- Travel Safety Stipend: The LSU Capstone Team from Louisiana State University provided a very detailed journey management plan, which took into account rest times, driver changes and proper sleep times.
Drivers’ World Championship Qualifier
The winning schools have earned themselves a place in the Drivers’ World Championship to be held at the Make the Future Live event in London, UK, from July 1-5, 2019. They will face-off against teams from Asia and Europe for the chance to be crowned world champions and earn a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the home of Scuderia Ferrari in Italy. This is a global competition to match the proven energy efficiency of their cars, with the speed, skill and strategy of the driver to see who can cross the finish line first without running out of their limited allocation of energy.
Within the Drivers’ World Championship Terms and Conditions, only one team from any school can be awarded an opportunity to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship. As such, the team who finished fourth in the race, Alden-Conger High School’s Knights 3 team, will also join the following teams in London:
- First Place: Wawasee Gold, Wawasee High School
- Second Place: Mater Dei Supermileage 2, Mater Dei High School
- Third Place: Mater Dei Supermileage, Mater Dei High School
Shell’s Make the Future Live Partners, many of whom actively used the event as a recruitment ground, included: Agility, Altair, Dassault Systèmes, HP, Linde, Sonoma Raceway, Southwest Research Institute and Toyota.
To learn more about Make the Future Live California, please visit the website.