'alerion' prototype car, created by a student team at the université laval
'alerion', a prototype vehicle created by a team of students at the université laval in quebec, canada,
achieved a best run of 2,564.8 mpg (0.09L/100km) during the shell eco-marathon competition in the united states.
back view of the car, during the race
composed of a carbon fiber body, the vehicle stands under a meter tall and weighs less than 25lbs (11.3kg).
the basic structure of the car represents only incremental modifications on the team's earlier models,
but the changes were enough to improve the team's time by 77mpg for this year.
as one might suspect, the car is able to attain such impressive mileage because the engine is automatically turned off when not required,
and the highly aerodynamic design of 'alerion' translates to a driving performance that permits it to primarily coast
even on flat surfaces like the track tested in the competition. the low profile structure is designed primarily to reduce pressure drag,
and the car's wheels, housed within the body, are inclined slightly towards the inside of the vehicle,
decreasing the width required the upper portion of the shell. concomitant to these engineering decisions,
'alerion' is driven in a reclining position, with the driver looking out towards the front of the car through her feet.
front view with top lifted
all vehicles entered in the prototype category of the eco-marathon begin with the same engine,
a standard one cylinder, 3.5HP lawnmower engine, that the teams then modify to increase efficiency.
the team behind 'alerion' used electronic fuel injection and electronic ignition in their model.
alterations in the parameters of the engine control unit, as well as modifications to the driving strategy,
contribute to variations in the vehicle's performance, which ranged this year.
side view, during testing prior to the race
the team checks data and modifies the electric control unit parameters between heats
the team checking the engine
the car lined up for the race
left: diagram indicating the driver position within the car shell; right: an earlier model of 'alerion' on exhibition
the car will next compete in the european shell eco-marathon, to be held in lausitz, germany from may 26th through 28th 2011.