UBC Engineers Create Vehicle that Travels from Vancouver to Halifax on a Gallon of Gas

June 20, 2006
UBC Engineers Create Vehicle that Travels from Vancouver to Halifax on a Gallon of Gas

A team of engineering students from The University of British Columbia has built a vehicle so efficient that it could travel from Vancouver to Halifax on a gallon of gasoline.

The futuristic-looking, single-occupancy vehicle won top prize at a recent international competition, marking the UBC team’s fourth win in as many years.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Supermileage Competition took place June 9 in Marshall, Michigan. Forty teams from Canada, the U.S. and India competed in designing and building the most fuel-efficient vehicle.

UBC Engineers Create Vehicle that Travels from Vancouver to Halifax on a Gallon of Gas

“We achieved this level of efficiency by optimizing many aspects of the vehicle design, including: aerodynamics, light-weight construction, a small displacement engine (54 cc), and conservative driving habits,” says Team Captain Kevin Li.

The UBC design, which required the driver to lie down while navigating it, achieved 3,145 miles per US gallon (0.074 litres/100 km) -- equivalent of Vancouver to Halifax on a gallon (3.79 litres) of gas -- costing less than $5 at the pump.

UBC’s student team has taken first place four out of the six years it has competed, with 2006 marking the fourth straight victory. Last year the UBC team beat out 27 teams by reaching 1,600 miles per gallon (mpg).

Université Laval (Que.) took second place this year with a score of 1,823 mpg. Other teams represented University of Windsor, University of California, Los Angeles, UC Berkeley, Pennsylvania State University, and the Delhi College of Engineering.

Supermileage (http://www.supermileage.org) is an annual student competition that challenges students to design, build, and drive a single person vehicle (powered solely by a gasoline engine) to achieve the best fuel mileage possible. The vehicle must be powered by only an internal combustion engine, with no assistance from electric motors or human propulsion.

The UBC project is funded with support from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, AirCare, the Walter Gage Memorial Fund, and the UBC Dept. of Mechanical Engineering.

Source: University of British Columbia

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