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HOUSTON -- It isn't your typical Spring Break: 38 teams from across the United States, Canada and Mexico are hard at work putting the finishing touches on their high-mileage, fuel-saving prototype vehicles as part of the 2008 Shell Eco-marathon Americas -- a global mileage challenge and forum for current and future leaders who are passionate about finding sustainable solutions to the world's energy challenge, the company stated.
"We realize the future of transportation ultimately depends on alternative energy sources," David Ulrich, student team leader of the Cal Poly team, who set the Shell Eco-marathon Americas record in 2007 with an astonishing 1,902.7 miles per gallon (809 kilometers per liter), said in a statement. "And as an engineering student, being given the opportunity to design and build fuel-efficient vehicles is an important part of gaining practical experience for the future."
Taking place April 10-12 at the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., the challenge tests students to design and build eco-friendly vehicles that travel the farthest distance using the least amount of fuel. From vehicle design to financing, student teams manage their projects from start to finish. The winning team receives a grand prize of $10,000 U.S. dollars for their school, according to the company.
The 2008 Shell Eco-marathon Americas roster contains 38 teams from 5 high schools and 24 universities from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The entries include 28 vehicles powered by combustion engines, six by fuel cell/hydrogen technology, one by diesel fuel, one by liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and two by solar power, Shell reported.
To help ensure the 2008 Shell Eco-marathon Americas is a successful event for all the student participants, Shell has welcomed the 2008 event sponsors: SKF USA Inc., Autodesk, Michelin and Pennzoil, the company stated.
With many successful years in Europe, the Shell Eco-marathon came back to the U.S. as the Shell Eco-marathon Americas in April 2007. The Eco-marathon concept started as the Shell Mileage Marathon in 1939 between employees of Shell at a research laboratory in Wood River, Ill. Today, the Americas event extends to student teams from across North and South America, according to the company.