Shell announces results of 2015 Eco-Marathon

By Erin Voegele | April 16, 2015

Shell has announced a team from Colorado has won the prototype alternative fuels category at the Shell Eco-Marathon held in Detroit this month using an ethanol-powered vehicle. 

The team, from the University of Colorado, Boulder, achieved 841 miles per gallon in its Tatankatoo vehicle using ethanol. The second place winner for the prototype alternative fuels category was Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná with 742 miles per gallon.

According to Shell, this year’s 30th anniversary event attracted 113 teams, representing more than 1,000 high school and university students, from across the Americas, including Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico and the U.S. Of the teams entered this year, 51 vehicles were fielded by high school s and 62 came from universities.

Before hitting a new and hilly track through the streets of downtown Detroit, teams had to make tweaks and, in some cases, major adjustments to pass detailed technical and safety inspections. Of 111 teams that made it to the inspections, only 89 passed. The track also proved challenging for student drivers who had to steer their low-slung, futuristic vehicles through sharp turns and elevation changes as spectators cheered them from the sidelines.

“A little more than 100 years ago, just two blocks away, there was a young fellow by the name of Henry Ford working on his quadricycle. He tested it on these streets where he achieved 10 to 20 mpg at the time,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “When you consider the achievements of these bright young minds, creating vehicles of the future that can travel more than 2,000 miles on a single gallon of fuel, I am amazed at the progress and inspired by what the future may hold.”

“This year’s event in Detroit has been everything we imagined it would be; showcasing innovation, human ingenuity, teamwork and perseverance,” said Niel Golightly, vice president of external relations for Shell Americas. “Through the competition, together with our partners, Shell challenges future engineers to think creatively and act practically with hand-on opportunities to stretch the boundaries of energy efficiency. There is no doubt that these students have a bright future ahead and will positively shape transport and mobility in the years to come.”

The top team overall was the University of Toronto, which built a vehicle that achieved 3,421 miles per gallon using gasoline. While the three top performing vehicles were all in the gasoline prototype category, teams also entered a variety of vehicles fueled by diesel, ethanol, electric batteries, compressed natural gas, gas-to-liquid fuels and hydrogen power.

Additional results from the 2015 Shell Eco-Marathon are available on the Shell website.