A team of University of Illinois students have set out to push the bounds of fuel efficiency. The students have designed a car they say can reach 100 miles per gallon and plan to present the car at the 2013 Shell Eco-marathon. According to the Associated Press, the group developed the two-seat car with a $56,000 budget. When designing and building the vehicle, the team “went for real-world feasibility,” said Sanat Bhole, a senior in mechanical engineering. The students have various majors including mechanical, chemical, and industrial engineering.
The Shell Eco-marathon challenges students from around the world to design, build, and drive the most fuel-efficient car, according to the Shell competition’s webpage. “Shell Eco-marathon is a visible demonstration of how we can all face, head-on, the growing demand for energy worldwide in a responsible way,” said Mark Singer, Shell Eco-marathon global project manager, who was quoted on a company website. “It’s easy to see that Shell Eco-marathon truly inspires all of us to think about energy efficiency and the ways we can work together to create tomorrow’s energy solutions in a practical way today.”
The Americas marathon is taking place April 4–7 in downtown Houston. The University of Illinois student innovators hope to snag a $2,000 prize and trophy for their aerodynamic car.
A hydrogen fuel cell powers the UI student’s car and the car’s framework weighs less than 70 pounds. “It’s super-lightweight. You could lift one with your whole finger — if the battery was not in it,” Bhole told the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette.
In what appears to be a reference to the feather-light chassis, one reader jokingly asked in a comment comments: “Does it come with a coffin?”
This is the second year a University of Illinois team is competing in the hydrogen fuel-cell urban concept category. Last year, the team achieved 66 mpg and won a $2,000 first-place prize with their vehicle, The Chief.