Rotterdam 2015

Team Microjoule-La Joliverie from France has triumphed once again at Shell Eco-marathon Europe. The school team achieved the most fuel-efficient performance in a combustion engine category, with 2,551.8 km/litre equivalent – the same as driving from Rotterdam to Moscow – with their new Prototype powered by CNG (compressed natural gas).

Team Microjoule left the Prototype gasoline category behind this year to compete with more challenging compressed natural gas. “We’re happy with our result,” said team member Richard Sampson. “We had a challenge to keep the gas pressure stable. If we fix that, we hope to achieve 3,000 km/l next year.”

Food for thought: the winning vehicle at the first European event in 1985 would have been efficient enough to travel the 320km from Rotterdam to London on just one litre of fuel.

Breaking through

Three teams set new track records this year. In the process, they improved on two of the best results seen in the competition’s 30-year history.

French team Lycee Louis Delage drove 517.3km/l equivalent with their UrbanConcept gasoline car, topping the all-time best result of 468.8 km/l which they achieved in 2014. Team Iut Gmp Valenciennes, also from France, set a track record of 1,323km/l in the Prototype diesel category, inching ahead of their earlier performance.

One of the most astonishing achievements was the comeback made by Danish team DTU Roadrunners, who awoke on Wednesday to find their UrbanConcept ethanol car had caught fire. Within two days, the team put in a combined 200 hours of work to fix its electrics. Against the odds, they achieved 665km/l, smashing the previous all-time best result which they achieved in 2013.

“We wanted to do 650km/l this year, but that was before the fire,” said team leader Thor Therkelson Christensen. “What happened was beyond all of our expectations.” The team took the microphone at the awards ceremony to thank everybody for their help.

Raising their game

Team Microjoule left huge shoes to fill in the Prototype gasoline category this year. French team TED surprised themselves with a 2,308.3km/l win, up more than 700km/l from 2014. “It’s incredible how much you can optimise the engine just by changing the electronics,” said student advisor Marc Denante. (The all-time best remains 3,771km/l for now.)

Spanish team Equip UMH were delighted to win the Prototype ethanol category with 1,496.4km/l, while TUfast Eco Team from Germany doubled their winnings, taking the Prototype battery electric category with 863km/kWh and the off-track award for vehicle design. Eco-runner Team Delft came within touching distance of a new Prototype hydrogen track record with 1,227.6 km/m3.