Although the team had some difficulties, they were not enough to keep Universite Laval’s prototype Alérion from winning for the third consecutive year. The team, which consists of fifteen students in science and engineering are now looking towards Europe’s Eco-marathon.
The prototype won in two categories: “Gasoline Energy” and “Internal Combustion Engine”. The car was only able to complete two of the three final possible runs on the fourth day due to a collision during the third run of the car. During the first two runs the car was able to consume “only 8.5 ml of gasoline, out of the 6 miles of the track, resulting in a score of 2565 mpg” and on the next run, “8.8 ml were consumed this time, for a result of 2522 mpg.”
On the third run, the car was it by another vehicle and a “kill switch” was activated shutting down the engine. Although the team was able to shut off the switch, the car was not able to get back in position for another run before time ran out. As it was their first run resulting in 2565 mpg was enough for them to win.
The team had shipped their car in pieces down to Houston before the competition. The first day and night were spent finding the parts and assembling the car. The engine arrived a day early and was shipped back to a distribution center. Once retrieved, the team could complete the car and begin testing to make sure that the car would be able to pass the competition safety tests the next morning. The car passed and so it was on to the next hurdle the actual recorded runs on the third day.
The car, which is driven by while reclining on ones back, was already turning in a good showing with three runs completed and two runs turning in a score of 2196 MPG and a score of 2557 MPG. The higher mileage was due to tinkering with the engine, transmission chain and code.
The final runs the next day clenched the win in both categories. The team will continue competing in Shell’s Eco-marathon series when they enter the European Shell Eco-marathon at the end of this month in Lausitz, Germany.
The mileage is great but these prototypes are similar to race cars, they look good on a track but you can’t drive home in one much less drive it to work and back. Impractical, prototypes help engineers and scientists test out theories and new technology that do eventually show up in cars that we can drive around in.
Here’s to Universite Laval and a continuation of their winning season in Europe!