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Granite Falls ShopGirls Break Barriers by Coasting

Sophomore Dansil Green, team driver, explains one of the ways that the Granite Falls High School team from Washington State seeks to set a mark in fuel economy at Shell Eco-marathon Americas: With a light-footed driving style. Like most of the teams, the ShopGirls coast around the track when they can, only drawing on their diesel engine when needed to keep up to the minimum speed required under the contest rules.

They should be aided in regulating their speed and matching it to track conditions by the new five-speed transmission they installed this year, says team coach, teacher Michael Werner. “However, it’s more complex, so more can go wrong,” he adds, smiling. “In true racing-car fashion, they ran it for about an hour” before they had to pack it up for the competition—in other words, not too time for testing it out. (See Photo Gallery: High School ‘ShopGirls’ Design for the Prize)

This is the fourth year in the competition for the ShopGirls, who were the first all-girls Eco-marathon team.  (Read story: “All-Girls Team Seeks Record in High-Mileage Marathon“) A fun moment this year was meeting and bonding with a second all-girls team that joined the contest this year, the Doves Under the Hood team from St. Scholastica Academy in Covington, Louisiana.

One of the Granite Falls ShopGirls graduates is now at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and another, at Stanford University, both studying engineering. Green, who is interested in MIT and aeronautical engineering,  would like to follow suit.

Granite Falls fields a second co-ed team, called UrbanAutos, which is competing with a diesel-powered urban concept car.

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With Dansil Green in the driver’s seat, Shell Eco-marathon technical inspectors check the seat belt integrity in the ShopGirls’ car, one of a required battery of tests for all competitors. Teammates Kylee Hayter (left), Teagan Fife, and Samantha Miner-Ball watch. Photo by Marianne Lavelle.
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The Doves Under The Hood team from St. Scholastica Academy, Covington, Louisiana, has their battery electric car sized up at technical inspection at Shell Eco-marathon Americas. The Doves are the second all-girls’ team in the competition. Photo courtesy of Shell Eco-marathon.