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Students smash 1,000mpg barrier in eco-car

23 May 2014

Rachel Atkinson

Motorsport and mechanical engineering undergraduates set their record during the Shell Eco-Marathon in Rotterdam

A team of engineering students has smashed the 1,000mpg barrier while competing in a European competition with their own super-eco car.

The 11 motorsport and mechanical engineering undergraduates, based in the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), took part in the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe competition in Rotterdam this week managed to break their personal best in the city by 60 per cent.

They competed against 200 universities from across Europe and the purpose built machine achieved a whopping 1031mpg on the final day of the competition.

Since the start of the 2013/14 term in September, the first and second year students, including Dan Heywood, 21, Andy Chappell, 20, Ryan Stockwell, 21, Rob Squires, 23, and James Dilkes, 21, have built the vehicle under the guidance and tuition of senior engineering lecturer Tony Broad.

“Everything has been designed and manufactured in-house by the first and second year students so it was great for them to get it out on the track to compete.”

Tony said: “We beat our total from last year’s event and added another 400 miles per gallon to our Rotterdam record. It was an improvement of more than 60 per cent and we’re delighted with that.

“Everything has been designed and manufactured in-house by the first and second year students so it was great for them to get it out on the track to compete. We have learned that the car can do even better in the future and there is plenty of scope in making modifications to the engine and shedding weight from the car by making components from carbon fibre, this will be the main focus for next year’s competition.”

Around 3,000 students from across Europe took part in the 29th annual competition. The overall winners were Microjoule from France, who have been competing since 1999 and have broken three world records for the most efficient gasoline powered vehicle.

James Dilkes, who was one of two drivers who manoeuvred the car around the 10-mile track which included 90 degree turns, said: “Our main aim was to reduce the rolling resistance. This car was a more aerodynamic shape and the bigger wheels helped us as well with inertia.”

The team will next be competing in the UK Eco-Marathon competition on 16 June at Mallory Park Race Circuit where the group hopes to exceed the huge 2,000mpg barrier.