This year’s Shell Eco Marathon was held April 14, 2007 at the California Speedway in Fontana, CA and was open to 20 colleges and 3 high schools. Leave it to a bunch of high schoolers to win the hydrogen fuel cell competition as Los Altos Academy of Engineering (LAAE) did just that with their vehicle called Infusion that cruised to a cool 1038 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) setting a North American record.
While other vehicles from other schools were running off high mileage gasoline technology hoping the exceed the 15 mph minimum, Infusion was designed to cruised at 40 mph for one hour continuously. If you’ve ever seen these high mileage competition vehicles you’ll soon realize that they’re not like other autos, in that, they usually hold just one small passenger and are shaped like cigar tubes or silver bullets.
Infusion has been around since 2001 and is LAAE’s longest standing student project to date. AutoCad and Rhino 3D modeling programs were used exclusively by the students to design the vehicle.
The Shell Eco Marathon started in 1939 as a friendly wager between employees at the company’s research lab in Wood River, Illinois. The winning auto topped out at just over 50 mpg. The Shell Eco Marathon since has hit the road and spent years in Europe setting many records for high fuel mileage. Only recently has the company brought the Shell Eco Marathon back to North America and today offers a $10,000 grand prize to the winner of the competition.