Living Green

Mar 27, 2010 7:16 PM by Danielle Lerner

Cal Poly students put super-mileage car to the test

Imagine a car that gets more than 2,700 miles to the gallon.

A group of Cal Poly students has designed and built a car that gets even more than that.

It's all part of this weekend's Shell Eco-Marathon competition in Houston.

Engineering students from all over the world are hitting the city streets to see whose car is the most energy efficient.

Cal Poly grabbed second place last year and they are hoping to take the top spot this year.

Final preparations are underway in Houston as Cal Poly engineering students prepare to test their super-mileage car known as the "Black Widow."

"It's a carbon fiber, it weighs 96 pounds and a couple years ago it has a record of about 2750 miles per gallon, set in Fontana," said Timothy Liu, a Cal Poly student.

Cal Poly is one of 50 schools competing at this year's Eco-marathon, and while some of these designs seem a bit unusual organizers say they could be the wave of the future.

"You want to spark young people's imaginations but there is a really real purpose to this, and that is to look for what is perhaps the next leap forward in technology," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

However it's not all about the competition. It is also a chance to meet other engineering students from around the world.

"See what they know and try to get as much out of it as possible," said Ann Peters.

So as Cal Poly gears up to keep that energy use down, the Mustangs say their chances to win are looking pretty good.

"I think we'll do great like we usually do," said Gabe Mountjoy, a Cal Poly student. "Be optimistic and we'll race how we usually do, we still have a great car here so we'll do our best."

Last year's winners got 2,757 miles per gallon out of their car.

The competition stars Saturday and ends Sunday, when two $5,000 grand prizes will be awarded.

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