Student-Built Eco Car Gets 2,752 MPG

Photo courtesy of Shell

Mechanical engineering students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (my alma mater) have developed an eco supercar that gets 2,752 MPG!

I never get tired of stories like these. As the car industry trips over itself trying to tap the fuel-efficient vehicle market, they end up getting pwned by a group of kids. And they been doing it since 2005! This car isn't some "complicated" hybrid or electric is 100-percent battery free.

In fact, the car has a fuel economy that 13-times higher than the Chevy Volt.


"By no means are we developing cutting edge technology that will be used in future vehicles," he said. "More than anything, our club is training engineers to push the boundaries of efficiency so when they enter the working world, it will be no different in how they approach other designs."


Called the Black Widow, the car has been a work-in-progress since 2005 where it originally got 861 MPG. Weighing only 96 pounds, it has three wheels, a drag coefficient of 0.12 and a top speed of 35 MPH. It uses a modified 3 horsepower Honda 50cc four-stroke engine. Yes, it is only 3 horsepower!

"The car is capable of higher speeds, but the fastest we've ever taken it is somewhere around 35 mph," Chan said. "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."

If you have a need for speed, this isn't the car for you. But if you only want to visit the gas station 5-times a year, it surely is.

"In the past, the competition has been held on closed race tracks, but this year, it is in downtown Houston," said team president Verent Chan. "Road conditions will be worse, which may negatively affect our fuel economy, but we still are aiming for the No. 1 spot."

The Black Widow will be competing for the fourth time in Shell's Eco-Marathon which runs March 26-28. The vehicle took first place back in 2007 and second place in 2008 and 2009.

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Source: Autopia