Colorado’s Wheat Ridge High School won the technically challenging Prototype hydrogen fuel cell category with a 151 miles (240 kilometres) per kilowatt-hour efficiency rate.
Another Colorado team, University of Colorado Boulder, will be taking a trophy back to the Rocky Mountain state, winning the Prototype alternative fuels award for the second straight year. Their car, “Tatonkatoo” posted 842 miles per gallon (358 kilometres per litre) burning ethanol.
Sullivan High School won the Prototype diesel category for a third straight year with a mark of 1,436 miles per gallon (611 kilometres per litre).
On the UrbanConcept side of the competition, where the cars look and act more like those we drive every day, Mater Dei has long led the way with its perennial winner “Elroy”, and Sunday in Detroit was no different. The team won with a 484 miles per gallon (206 kilometres per litre), far short of the Shell Eco-marathon Americas category record of 901 mile per gallon (378 kilometres per litre) they set last year in Houston.
The Evansville high school also won the Prototype category battery-electric in its Supermileage-3 car with an efficiency rating of 450 miles (724 kilometres) per kilowatt hour.
Competition, collaboration and camaraderie
Most teams, of course, don’t win, but come for the experience, camaraderie and to achieve their own improvement goals from year to year. And, every year, some teams don’t even get their cars onto the track. Sometimes something breaks and can’t be fixed, or the car doesn’t pass the rigorous safety and technical inspection required to drive in competition. Indeed, of 111 teams that made it to the inspections this year, only 89 passed.
The new track, winding uphill and down through central Detroit, also proved challenging for student drivers who had to steer their low-slung, futuristic vehicles through sharp turns and elevation changes. There were more than a few crashes but no one hurt. Spectators lined the streets and sat in grandstands, cheering the teams as they made their way around the course.
Hello Motor City
Detroit welcomed the event with open arms and Shell expects the move to the nation’s automotive centre will help it grow even more with exposure to different parts of the country.