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Team hopes energy efficient car is on track for marathon success

University of Strathclyde Eco Vehicle team 2019 for Shell marathon

Strathclyde students are bidding to win a European energy efficiency competition with an electric prototype vehicle they have designed and built.

The University of Strathclyde Eco-Vehicle (USEV) team of around 50 undergraduates designed the vehicle to take part in the annual Shell Eco-Marathon competition at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey next month.

The car – named ‘Clyde 3’ – is a three wheeled, battery powered vehicle, built from aluminium bars with a carbon fibre shell attached.

USEV car for Shell Eco Marathon

Teams from universities and schools around the world have been challenged to design, build and drive cars to achieve the highest possible fuel efficiency.

Energy types

Competitors use a variety of energy types, ranging from petrol and diesel, to electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cell.

Strathclyde team captain Martin Riis said: “We’re a relatively new team and have only been operating for three years and are taking part in the European strand of the competition.

“The first couple of days will have the cars put through technical inspections to test if they are roadworthy and safe to go out on the track.

“In our first year we didn’t pass the technical inspections and just missed going out on the track. Last year, we made it onto the track and achieved an efficiency of 130km/kWh, equivalent to 2,700mpg and we hope to do even better this year.

"There are a set number of laps to complete in a set time and the aim is to get all the way to the end. There will be an energy meter installed inside the car to measure the amount of power the car uses per kilometre and that’s how your efficiency is measured.”

“We’ve made some technical advances and are really proud that we’ve been able to work with a local company on creating a highly efficient motor.”

The car is around three metres long and one metre wide and tall and is a single seater.

Aerodynamic car

Third year Electronic and Electrical Engineering student Martin added: “One of the main focuses in the design is to make the car as lightweight and aerodynamic as possible to reduce energy losses.”

The majority of the Strathclyde team are engineering students but computer science, chemistry and business are also represented.

Martin added: “Team members have already seen some great benefits from being involved.

 “We’ve got some students that have gone into jobs and internships in prominent engineering and automotive companies including Scottish Power, McLaren and Volvo. “

Shell Eco-Marathon is a global programme for science, technology, engineering and maths students to design and build ultra-energy-efficient cars, and then take them out on the track in competition.

The programme inspires thousands of students to work collaboratively in their university teams to put their theories of energy-efficiency to the test, using cutting-edge technology, critical thinking, and innovative ideas.