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New Mileage Records Set in Fuel-Efficiency Race

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Winning entry from French team Microjoule from technical school La Joliverie

Teams competing in the Shell* Eco-marathon Europe achieved new milestones in solar and hydrogen fuel cell efficiency Sunday. Italian team mecc-Sun traveled 688 miles (1,108 kilometers) on just 1 kilowatt hour of energy with its solar-powered car, while French team Polytech Nantes beat its own record by driving 366 miles (590 kilometers) per kilowatt hour in its hydrogen-powered entry.

The competition kicked off at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany Thursday with 183 teams from 24 countries. Reflecting the increasing importance of electric cars within the driving landscape, cars with electric engines (hydrogen, solar or plug-in) had their own e-Mobility category, separate from the internal combustion group, for the first time in the event’s history.

French team Microjoule from technical school La Joliverie repeated its 2010 victory, taking the top prize in the gasoline-powered internal combustion engine category with a run of 8,674 miles per gallon (3,688 kilometers/liter), outstripping second-place competitor Remmi-Team of Finland by 2,338 mpg (994 km/l).

Canadian team Alerion Supermileage from Université Laval, which placed first in the Americas installment of the competition last month, placed 13th with a run of 2,909 mpg (1,237 km/l), which bested its winning Houston performance of 2,564.8 mpg (1,090 km/l).

Shell Eco-marathon Asia kicks off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 6. You’ll find photos of the winners at Lausitz here and highlights from the competition here.

Coverage from the Shell Eco-marathon Americas:

* Shell is sponsor of National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge initiative. National Geographic maintains autonomy over content.