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UK Engineer Breaks Fuel-economy Record

  • Wednesday, 21st September 2005
  • Reading time: about 4 minutes

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With fuel prices reaching an all time high, a car built by a Bath (UK) engineer has broken a British record for fuel economy in a recent eco-marathon held in Scotland.

Andy Green, who works in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath, built the three-wheel car in his spare time and regularly competes in competitions to find the world’s most fuel-economic car.

The Team Green car made the most of the clement weather at the Alford race track in Aberdeenshire to set a new British record of 6,603 miles on a gallon of fuel, beating the old record, achieved in 1999, by over 200 mpg.

“We have been making improvements to the car since coming close to breaking the record back in 2001, but in each of the competitions since then the weather has been unhelpful,” said Mr Green.

“This year the weather at Alford was ideal, and we can see the benefit of the improvements we have made to good effect. We are delighted to break the record, it is something we have set our sights on for a number of years and it is wonderful to finally achieve that dream. Our next target is taking on the most fuel-economic cars in Europe and beyond.”

The Mileage Marathon Vehicle has a lightweight construction and is designed to carry a driver at an average speed of 15mph for the 10 mile course.

To measure the distance a car travels, competition judges measure the fuel capacity of the car and then see how far it travels on one tank of petrol. Using just 4.61 cubic centimetres of fuel the car travelled an impressive 6.335 miles, the equivalent of 6603 miles (or the distance from Bath to Tokyo as the crow flies) on just one gallon of fuel.

The car body shape was formed from plaster which was supported by a wooden framework and wire mesh. Using glass and carbon fibre reinforced plastic to cover this male shape, a thin smooth body was made up in 2 halves. The lower half was stiffened up with foam and more GRP to make a monocoque chassis capable of mounting the engine and transmission etc and of course supporting the driver!

For its record-breaking run, the car was driven by Jenny Goodman, a graduate Aerospace Engineer from the University. Jenny has been driving the Team Green car since her first year at the University in 1998. Jenny said that the car had to be driven between speeds of 9 miles per hour and 13 miles per hour. This may not seem very fast, but the car has very low visibility and all the drivers must avoid having to use their brakes, as this would dramatically increase the fuel-consumption of the cars. As a result, it can get a little nerve-wracking for both drivers and engineers as cars take over one another.

“”It feels great for the team to have finally broken the British record after so many years of hard work. I was really lucky to be driving when we had the perfect weather conditions, giving us the opportunity to break the British record. We never would have achieved such a great result without the level of team work within Team Green. For example my fellow driver, Frances Rogers and I continually help each other to improve our driving strategies”, said Goodman

While at Alford, Team Green also entered the car in the Liquid Petroleum Gas competition, and picked up another British record achieving 4,953 mpg with the environmentally-friendly fuel.

Mr Green is now planning on starting work on a new car that he hopes to race in the French Eco-Marathon event in May 2006.

“We feel that we have squeezed probably as much as we are able to from the existing vehicle and that we should press on again with the new one as soon as possible. I am hoping there will be significant savings in vehicle weight and aerodynamic drag with the new vehicle so that we can see some early advances in the miles per gallon figures, weather permitting of course”, said Green.

Team Green’s sponsors include: Shell Global Solutions, Michelin, Polymeric Composites, C12 Composites, BSL, Roehm Ltd, GEMS, MDS Batteries, Drill Service (Horley) Ltd, SMC Pneumatics (UK), Ltd, Camcoat Performance Coatings, Aurora Bearing Co, Bristol Banners and Signs, Total Restraints Systems Ltd and the University of Bath.

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