Apr 082010


The NTF 4.0, a car built by a team of students from Laval University in Quebec, Canada, achieved an astonishing 2,487.5 mpg (US) a week ago at the 2010 Shell Eco-Marathon Americas in Houson, Texas. The feat earned the team the $US5,000 grand prize in the Prototype category, in which fuel-efficiency can be achieved through designs that are… well, that are as radically streamlined and lightweight as possible, really. The combustion-engined NTF (any ideas what that stands for?) was by no means the only impressive vehicle at the event, however.

The Eco-Marathon featured 42 teams representing 9 high schools and 28 universities from across the Americas, plus one team from Italy. Vehicles could be powered by any conventionally available energy source – the 47 vehicles competing in this year’s event incorporated engines powered by combustion, hydrogen/fuel cell technology, solar power and diesel. The object of the contest was simply to see which vehicles could travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy, on a downtown Houston course.

The Laval team won in the Prototype category for the second year in a row – last year, they achieved an even more amazing 2,757.1 mpg. The event also included an UrbanConcept category, in which the vehicles had to be designed with practicality and real-world use in mind. The team from Indiana’s Mater Dei High School took the $5,000 grand prize in that category, for their 437.2 mpg combustion-engined car named George. This was also their second win in as many years.

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