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Loyola Marymount’s Bamboo Car, Battered by Heat, Still Takes the Track

The effort to go green in building materials added to the challenges for the Loyola Marymount Senior Mechanical Engineers team at Shell Eco-marathon Americans 2013. Senior Van Weller explained that the team chose lightweight bamboo for the body of its gasoline-powered prototype vehicle, the Gen 5, and spiffed it up with gold paint. Unfortunately, the team had a long drive across the desert from Los Angeles to Houston, and somewhere in Arizona, the body of the car began to warp and bow.

They spent some time before the competition started trying to figure out how to reshape the car, figuring the best solution would be for the driver’s head in the open. The car made it onto the track, and completed an early race with mileage of 524 miles per gallon (223 kilometers per liter.)

Loyola Marymount’s other gasoline prototype in the race, nicknamed Iggy,  had a run of 607 mpg (258 km/l).

See stories of student competitors who used bamboo and other green materials at last year’s Shell Eco-marathon Americas (From Bamboo to Carbon Fiber, Students Innovate Clean Cars at Shell Eco-marathon 2012) and at Shell Eco-marathon Asia (Wooden Electric Car Steals Limelight at Shell Eco-Marathon Asia)