Take that, Prius!
Engineering students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo achieved every commuter’s dream this month by creating a vehicle that travels more than 1,900 miles on one gallon of gas. No kidding.
The feat was the result of a competition put on by the Shell Oil Co., which challenged students from across the United States and Canada to drive as far as they could using the least amount of fuel—either conventional or alternative.
Team captain Tom Heckel described the winning vehicle, which he said weighs 96 pounds and has three specially designed tires that take very little energy to keep rolling. During the competition, the driver accelerated to 25 mph before turning off the motor of the vehicle and coasting down to about 10 mph. The technique was repeated for seven laps.
While the aerodynamic vehicle wasn’t driven 1,900 miles, judges measured each competitor’s fuel levels to come up with a mile-per-gallon rating. Cal Poly took the top prize of $10,000 for the highest mph in the Shell Eco-marathon. The school also took first place in its category of combustion engines.