The Shell Eco Marathon has always produced impressive fuel efficiency numbers. The current record for an internal combustion engine has been set in 2004 by MicroJoule, a car developed by students from Lycée La Joliverie. It has reached a fuel consumption of 0.293 l/100 km. That would be like spending only a liter of gasoline to run 3,410 km. But internal combustion engines are inherently inefficient, as we have already demostrated in an article about the car revolution. This is why the energy efficiency competitions are now focusing on electric engines. And the students from TU Munich, or, in good German, Technische Universität München, have created one that can reach 0.009 l/100 km. It is the TUfast Eco Team eLi14.
The car competed at the Shell Eco Marathon in 2014, but did not achieve good results. So the students decided to upgrade it. And it has proven to be a worthy effort. The 0.009 l/100 km is difficult to imagine, but it is equivalent to 26,135 mpg (US). Or to using just 1 liter of petrol to travel 10,956 km. If you could in straight line, that would take you from New York to Tokyo. Or from New York to London and back to New York.
The eLi14 weighs less than 30 kg without the driver. Its monocoque is made of carbon fiber and it has been designed to run at a top speed of 30 km/h. Its energy comes from LiPo (lithium polymer) batteries. They can be recharged by a solar panel that works as the roof of the tiny vehicle. The car has only 3 wheels in order to reduce rolling friction and its transparent parts are made of Makrolon. The electric motor that propels it, able to generate 140 W, is a development of the own students. The world breaking test happened in a test track Audi has provided for the team. You can see the run in the video below, as well as practice your German.
The eLi14 is not a practical nor feasible vehicle for daily driving, but it can surely help develop more efficient ways of moving around. Especially if you are not as “mignon” as Lisa Kugler, the driver of the world record car.