Many engineering students, like Matthias Jungbluth of Fachhochschule (The University of Applied Sciences) Trier in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, are attracted to a project like Shell Eco-marathon by the hands-on experience involved in designing and building a fuel-efficient car.
The Trier school’s team, called team ProTRon (a combination of the word “protype” and the abbreviation for the city name, Trier) wanted the number 701 for its battery electric urban concept vehicle, Jungbluth said. That’s because the number “7″ stands for the class of battery the car uses and the “1″ stands for the first place the team took Eco-Marathon 2011, with a result of 233 kilometers (145 miles) per kilowatthour. Because 1 gallon of gasoline delivers the same energy as 33.7 kilowatthours of electrical power, that works out to the equivalent of 4,887 miles per gallon, or 2,078 kilometers per liter. The course this year is more difficult, on a city street with rough surfaces and many sharp turns instead of an oval race course. In early results, Trier’s vehicle achieved 172 kilometers (108 miles) per kilowatthour, or the equivalent of 1,548 km/l (3,640 mpg) on gasoline.