Mechanical Engineering Technology students design competitive concept cars for Shell Eco-Marathon Americas

Ninety-nine teams and 118 vehicles from the U.S, Mexico, Canada and Brazil participated in the Shell Eco-Marathon, March 29th through April 1st, at Discovery Green in downtown.

Ninety-nine teams and 118 vehicles from the U.S, Mexico, Canada and Brazil participated in the Shell Eco-Marathon, March 29th through April 1st, at Discovery Green in downtown. The challenge encourages students to design and build energy-efficient vehicles. High school and college students test cars of the future, vehicles they have designed and built to see which can go the farthest distance using the least amount of fuel.

Students competed in two different design classes: the UrbanConcept, aimed to build fuel economy vehicles that resemble today's cars, and Prototypes, which tasked competitors with building the most aerodynamic and fuel-efficient vehicles.

"I'm excited to get it on the road," David Nguyen, a UH alumnus helping the Eco-H team said prior to the competition. "It's been a-year-and-a-half-long project."

Team Eco-H entered its hydrogen fuel cell car called Hydro-Core in UrbanConcept, a competition that UH has competed in for the past five years.

"The first semester was all planning design," said Julio Cornejo, a senior studying mechanical engineering technology. "The other two consisted of construction."

Team SuperLeggera, a five-student team building UH's first entry into the Prototype division, started planning its vehicle last summer. The entry met the requirement for the students’ Senior Design Project. Construction began in November.

"A lot of sacrifice went into this," said Jose Guerrero, a senior studying mechanical engineering technology. "Our car has a teardrop shape so it's a lot more aerodynamic."