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1,300 MPG Student-Designed Ultra-Light Car Runs on a Tiny Lawnmower Engine
Students at Brigham Young University in Utah have designed a car that can travel the distance from Utah to Michigan on a single gallon of fuel. The fish-shaped car—which weighs less than 100 pounds and gets an astounding 1,300 miles per gallon—will participate at this year’s SAE Supermileage Competition, an annual contest that challenges students to create the most fuel-efficient vehicle in North America.
This fantastic fuel efficiency is attributed to the car’s lightness-it weighs under 100 pounds, a tank that holds only 20 grams of fuel and a tiny lawnmower engine that is engaged just enough to get the vehicle to a desirable speed, after which it shuts off and lets the vehicle glide along the track.
The newest version of the BYU Supermileage Vehicle weights exactly 99 pounds-22 pounds less than its predecessor. To maximize fuel-efficiency, the BYU team added ceramic insulation to the lawn-mower engine and made several modifications so it can be electronically controlled.
At the competition, the teams are given 20 grams of fuel to race around a 10-mile track. Vehicles that achieve an average of 15 miles per hour, have their tanks re-measured by the judges who deduce the mpg capability based on the leftover fuel. At the last year’s Supermileage competition the BYU team won second place with a final mark of 1,135 miles per gallon. This year they aim even higher-2,000 MPG.
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