The Shell Eco-Marathon is an annual car design competition in which more than 1,000 students and their customised cars take part every year. Organised by Shell, one of the largest Oil companies in the world, the competition has several categories in which participants can pitch their cars and get awarded with cash prizes and helpful industrial connections. One of the main categories of the event is the prototype category in which all they give you is one gallon of gasoline and you have to get as many miles as possible from it. This year, the first placed car from Laval University, Quebec was able to cover more than 2,585 miles on the race track in that single gallon of gas! How about that?
A purpose-built race track for this competition was made by Shell that was 6 miles long and several rules were also enforced like a maximum speed of 15 Mph. The team from Canada was able to record most runs on the track and clinched the first place in the gasoline category. There were several other categories too like Hydrogen fuel-cell batteries and electric cars. Now you must be thinking that 2,585 miles is an impossible proposition and it must be a world record of sorts, but that’s not the case because it didn’t even break the record for this competition which is held by the University of Toronto team from 2015 that achieved a mind-boggling 3,421 mpg!!!
Each car at the Shell Eco-marathon was supposed to house a single person and models ranged from futuristic-looking pods to poorly designed boxes on wheels. The winning team’s engine power was only 2 HP and to move it, the car had to be made super lightweight and as aerodynamic as possible. Interesting tactics are also used by teams to achieve the longest run as some cars accelerate to the maximum speed and then don’t start again till it drops below nine mph. That way, the car’s performance can be enhanced.
None of these cars are ready for an assault on the actual roads of course. I, for instance, wouldn’t even fit inside the little cabin! Damn Canadians!