The Eco-Marathon is an annual competition sponsored by Shell, where participants build special ultra fuel efficient vehicles. Eco-Marathons are held around the world with events in the UK, Finland, France, Holland, Japan, and the USA.
The 2009 Eco-marathon Americas event took place April 15-18 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, where 44 student teams designed, built and drove vehicles striving to drive the farthest using the least amount of energy.
The Eco-Marathon has different fuel classes: gasoline, diesel, fuel cell, solar, and LPG. Some of these cannot be directly measured in miles per gallon (how big is a 'gallon' of sunshine?). So they are converted to energy equivalents to allow comparisons between categories.
In the liquid fuel categories, the engines are generally only used 5 to 6 seconds each lap; utilizing the 'pump & glide' hypermiler trick to allow the engine to be off completely for most of the lap.
The current world record is 12,665 miles per gallon. That is more than 10 miles per teaspoon. This record was set in 2005 by the PAC-Car II vehicle.
Here are the 2009 results:
- The Combustion Engine winners were the Alerion Supermileage team from Laval University in Quebec, Canada with their vehicle the NTF 3.0 achieved mileage of 2,757.1 mpg
- The Hydrogen Fuel Cell winners were the Penn State University team; achieving 1,912.9 mpg in their Blood, Sweat & Gears vehicle
- Solar Power winners were the Purdue Solar Racing team with their vehicle, Pulsar, which achieved 4,913 mpg