More than 3,000 students took on the ultimate challenge in energy-efficient driving on the streets of Rotterdam last month.
The Shell Eco-marathon challenges student teams from around the world to design, build and test ultra energy-efficient vehicles.
With annual events in the Americas, then Europe and Asia, the winners are the teams that go the furthest using the least amount of energy.
The European leg was held in The Netherlands this year and brought together around 200 teams and 3,000 students from across the continent.
Most of the prototype vehicles are driven by a female member of the team – the smaller and lighter the better, because every kilo can reduce the performance of the car.
The driver’s cab is also compact, so a slim driver of no more than average height is essential.
Competitors Schluckspecht from Germany, who were celebrating their 15th Eco-marathon, were the first team to set a record this year, shaving more than four miles per gallon (mpg) off their previous record with 677mpg in their diesel powered car.
Their team spokesman, Sebastian Sinz, said: “Our target is not to break any records, but to do the best possible run each time we go on the track.
“A good driver who knows how to drive energy efficiently can make a 50% improvement on the car’s performance.”
A French team from Nantes smashed the record for a hydrogen-powered UrbanConcept car with 91 miles travelled per kilowatt/hour.
The event is designed to spark debate about the future of mobility and inspire young engineers to push the boundaries of fuel efficiency.
Norman Koch, technical director for Shell Eco-marathon, said: “The competitiveness this year has never been higher.
“There were photo-finishes in many categories, illustrating how innovation is put into practice successfully by many teams.”
Running on ethanol, the DTU Roadrunners team from Denmark beat their best distance from last year, racking up a new record of 1,438mpg.
In the diesel category, French team GMP Valenciennes took the prize with more than 2,900 miles to the gallon!