Solid polyurethane tyres helped one team’s vehicle go a long way on very little fuel in this year’s Shell Eco-marathon Americas. Sarah Houlton reports.
Every year, Shell’s Eco-marathon competitions pits teams of high school and university students against each other. Their goal: to design and build ultra-energy-efficient cars, and then compete against each other on the track. There are various classes for cars powered by different fuels.
In April, a team from Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Indiana won the urban concept battery electric class in the Americas competition with the help of polyurethane wheels. More than 1000 students representing 88 teams from the Americas took part in the competition. It was was held at the Sonoma Raceway in California.
The competition has its roots in a bet between a couple of Shell scientists at the Wood River, Illinois facility back in 1939, about who could drive furthest on a gallon of gasoline, according to Shell spokeswoman Pamela Rosen. The competition grew over time, but came to a halt during the 1973 oil embargo. It was resurrected in Europe as a student competition in 1985, and now there are annual Eco-marathons in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Smaller tyres, smaller wheels
As Bob Neisen, an advisor to…