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Louisiana Tech Eco-Car team, USA
The Louisiana Tech University has been winning titles and breaking records throughout the history of Shell Eco-marathon Americas. Their innovative fuel-efficient cars have evolved from a simple approach using a bicycle frame into super-streamlined vehicles developed from 3D modelling.
|Team name:||Louisiana Tech Eco-Car Team|
|Car name:||Thunderdawg, Roadster, Hot Rod, XX|
|Classes:||UrbanConcept and prototype|
|Energy types:||petrol (gasoline) and diesel|
|Unique car features:||Eye-catching designs|
|Years in the competition:||6|
|Record to beat:||UrbanConcept petrol 646 mpg (274.64 km/l), UrbanConcept diesel 488 mpg (207.47 km/l)|
Back in time with cars of the future
2007 – Professor Heath Tims hears about Shell Eco-marathon and starts planning to compete.
2008 – For the first year in the competition, five students build a simple car called Blue Diamond.
2009 – The team builds a new prototype car and an urban car for the new UrbanConcept class. The urban car, B’Vetti, comes second and its looks grab the media’s attention.
2010 – The first urban car gets a makeover inside and out, with a new blue colour and a very different powertrain. It is renamed B’Vetti-B.
2011 – Louisiana Tech change the way they build the cars, moving away from a separate chassis and frame structure to an integrated construction made from carbon fibre. It designs a very lightweight car that is still very strong. The Roadster achieves first place in the UrbanConcept category, travelling the equivalent of 646 mpg (274.64 km/l).
2012 – The team develops a unique design with a front-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering. They also build a new urban car, Hot Rod, which looks similar to the previous car but has a diesel engine. They win the diesel category with 488 mpg (207.47 km/l).
2013 – The team is debuting a new petrol car that will turn heads. The design is a one-piece structure that incorporates passages that allow air to flow around the car, improving aerodynamics. Students have also revamped the engine’s fuel-injection system.
Who’s on the team?
Sam Wade, 21, is the team’s executive board member and car captain. His good sense of humour will help to relieve the pressure of preparing for the competition. He has applied his patience and precision in painstakingly fabricating the car. Out of school he is passionate about golf and shooting sports. He signed up to Shell Eco-marathon to learn more about new technologies to advance car design.
Professor Heath Tims
Professor Heath Tims has been the team supervisor since the university first competed in 2008. He is passionate about Shell Eco-marathon as “it is the chance for students to take what we teach them and apply it to a real-life project.” He is proud of the car’s design and promises that this year’s will be a real head-turner!
Mechanical engineering student Seth Anderson grew up on a Christmas tree farm and has always worked with machinery. He believes that you should “Do it to the best of your ability, or don’t do it all!” He sees his biggest strength on the team as “flexibility” but as the team driver his skills behind the wheel are all-important. As a male driver, he is on the edge of the weight limit so mustn’t gain any more! His driving tips include not over-steering and staying relaxed.
Communications captain Josh Zuber is 19 and studying engineering. He is handy to have around with his motto of “I can fix that!” He describes his biggest attribute as “adaptability”, which is ideal for unexpected challenges on the road to Houston. His expertise lies in carbon-fibre prototyping.
Car captain Nathan Seal sits on the team’s leadership board. Aged 20, Nathan is passionate about God, learning, ultimate frisbee – and Shell Eco-marathon! He enjoys “making sure everyone is involved”, which is great for team spirit. Nathan signed up to the competition because at high school he enjoyed researching different ways to boost fuel efficiency and now he wants the competitive edge.