April 26, 2011

Contact: Amy Hewes
805-756-6402; ahewes@calpoly.edu

Cal Poly Earns Innovation Award at Shell Eco-Marathon

SAN LUIS OBISPO - The Cal Poly Urban Concept Car Team drove off with the Southwest Research Institute Technical Innovation Award and a third-place finish in the urban concept car category at the 2011 Shell Eco-Marathon in Houston, Texas, on April 17.urban concept car

Boasting sophisticated metering electronics that generated an unprecedented amount of performance data, the Cal Poly car went 425 miles per gallon (mpg) to finish third behind winner Louisiana Tech with an entry that achieved 646 mpg and second place Mater Dei High School with 586 mpg.

Faculty advisor Joe Mello credited Cal Poly’s win in the technical innovation category to the on-board electronics and new composite wheels. “It was the combination of overall technology that made our car stand out,” Mello said. “It was an outstanding job by a true multi-disciplinary team.”

This year, the Cal Poly engineering students switched to the Urban Concept competition, which focuses on more “roadworthy,” fuel-efficient vehicles as opposed to the Prototype category with sleek, wind tunnel-tested cars that get astonishing fuel mileage. In that category, Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, took home the 2011 first-place award with a run of 2,564.8 mpg.

“Aside from looking more like a traditional car, Urban Concept cars have to come to three full stops during the run to reflect a more realistic driving experience,” said Mello, who added: “It’s a new set of challenges and our car performed well. Since our team is very young, we’re excited about the future.”

The Shell Eco-Marathon challenges college and high school student teams from around the world to design, build and test energy efficient vehicles.

The winners are the teams that go the farthest distance using the least amount of energy.

For more information on the Shell Eco-Marathon, see: http://www.shell.com/home/content/ecomarathon/

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