Students competing in Eco-Marathon at Sonoma Raceway

For the second year in a row, more than 1,000 high school and college students from throughout the Western Hemisphere will enter their ultra-efficient vehicles in the Make the Future Live California featuring Shell Eco-marathon Americas starting Thursday at Sonoma Raceway.

This is one of the world’s leading energy efficiency competitions.

Three of the teams are from Northern California universities, University of California-Berkeley, California State University Sacramento and California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

Each will field ultra-energy efficient entries in Shell Eco-marathon Americas, a global program designed to offer students hands-on opportunities to develop ideas, technology, knowledge and skills and demonstrate them in competition.

Shell Eco-marathon has annual events in Asia, the Americas and Europe. It also has several grass roots events across the globe. Sonoma Raceway became a host site last year.

The contest is made up of two key competitions.

One is the Shell Eco-marathon Mileage Challenge, a competition to see who can go the farthest on the least amount of energy.

The other is the Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship that matches the proven energy-efficiency of the car, with the strategy, skill and speed of the driver.

Student teams from countries in their respective regions must use innovative problem-solving skills to design and build their own cars. They examine every aspect of design and technology, students compete to prove that their ideas will produce the most energy-efficient vehicle when tested on the track.

UC Berkeley’s Cal Super-Mileage Vehicle Team will attempt a run at the Shell Eco-marathon with their vehicle, Lux, which is driven by a pure battery-electric drive train on a carbon fiber body.

They will compete in the UrbanConcept division, which focuses on roadworthy, energy-efficient vehicles aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers.

In addition to UC Berkeley, CSU Sacramento State Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) will enter its Green Hornet in the UrbanConcept category.

EEV at CSU Sacramento is a student-run and student-organized group of mechanical engineering students.

The team is described as diverse in ethnicity, gender, and age, with many members who speak English as their second language and others who are parents returning to school. The majority of team members are interested in pursuing careers in automotive engineering or sustainable energy.

The Cal Poly Supermileage team returns to competition with two entries, Delamina and Eventus, both in the Prototype vehicle category.

Eventus is the teams’ first battery electric vehicle, while Delamina runs on gasoline. Cal Poly has participated in the Shell Eco-marathon since it was launched in the Americas in 2007. Many on this year’s team are first-year university students.

In the Shell Eco-marathon, cars will drive a fixed number of laps around the .94-mile, five-turn circuit and must maintain a minimum speed. Organizers will calculate their energy efficiency and name a winner in each class and for each energy source: internal combustion – gasoline, diesel and ethanol; hydrogen fuel cell; and battery electric technologies.

Make the Future Live California featuring Shell Eco-marathon Americas will run from noon to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and from 8 3:50 p.m. Saturday with closing ceremonies at 5 p.m.

Practice runs will take place on Thursday with competition spanning Thursday through Saturday. The event is free for spectators of all ages and parking is free. Sonoma Raceway is at 29355 Arnold Dr., Sonoma. Those interested in the event may visit or

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