At the end of last week Rotterdam hosted the 30th Shell Eco-marathon Europe, where teams achieved new standards and records in economical driving.
197 teams from 26 countries took part in a competition with one basic rule - whoever manages to cover the longest distance with 1 litre of fuel or 1kWh of electric power, wins. Teams were divided in two basic categories: Prototype - for futuristic vehicles, and UrbanConcept - economical designs for daily use.
If, back in 1985, when the first marathon took place, the winning team could easily travel from Rotterdam to London on 1 litre of fuel, this year's winning team Microjoule-La Joliverie would get as far as Moscow. They covered 2551.8km with the same quantity of natural gas. Less optimised vehicles from the UrbanConcept category covered shorter distances, but their results were equally impressive. French team Lycee Louis Delage managed 517.3km with one litre of petrol, while Danish team DTU Roadrunners used one litre of ethanol over 655km.
French team Vector Ecoteam deserves a mention for a particular effort - for their electric prototype, they developed a new computing system, which accurately monitored and controlled the speed of their vehicle to keep the power consumption to a bare minimum.
Shell Eco-marathon Europe attracted more than 50000 spectators in Rotterdam and will move to London next year.