A group of mechanical engineering students at California Polytechnic State University is all set to enter the Shell Eco-Marathon competition with an ultra high-mileage, three-wheeled car that boasts over 2,500 miles per gallon.
Wired reports that the Cal Poly team is actually working on two vehicles for the student competition; the Black Widow (pictured), and a new three-wheeler for the contest's Urban Concept division. The Black Widow took first place in the 2007 Eco-Marathon and second place in 2008 and 2009 so to say these guys know what they're doing would be an understatement.
It's the Black Widow that boasts the impressive 2752.3 miles per gallon. The car weighs just 96 pounds, has a drag coefficient of 0.12 and can reach 30 mph with a modified 3 horsepower Honda 50cc four-stroke engine. Team leader Verent Chan said the car is capable of faster speeds but they're keeping it at around 30 mph because they want to maximize on fuel efficiency.
"The car is capable of higher speeds, but the fastest we’ve ever taken it is somewhere around 35 mph,” Chan admits. “This is because we are trying to maximize the fuel efficiency for the competition. If we wanted to reach higher speeds, the engine has enough power. We would just need to set up our gear ratios differently," he explained.
Road conditions this year are slightly different but team leader Mr. Chan said the guys are still shooting for first place.
"In the past, the competition has been held on closed race tracks, but this year, it is in downtown Houston,” said Chan. “Road conditions will be worse, which may negatively affect our fuel economy, but we still are aiming for the No. 1 spot."
Read the full story on Wired.