April 25, 2014

UAB seniors will race energy-efficient vehicle in Shell Eco-marathon

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eco marathonA team of UAB School of Engineering students will travel to Houston this weekend to compete against students from across the country trying to best each other in a race of energy-efficient vehicles.

The team, made up of senior students Brandon Caterinichia, Shaylin Gehring, John Herring and Nick Iannuzzi, designed and built a gasoline-powered, fuel-efficient vehicle as their senior design project. The UAB team will compete against hundreds of other teams and thousands of other students from North and South America.

The Shell Eco-marathon challenges student teams from around the world to design, build and then test their fuel-efficient vehicles with competitions in the Americas, Europe and Asia. The winners are the teams that can go the farthest while using the least amount of energy.

“The competition consists of 10 laps around a track, for a total of 6 miles,” said Caterinichia. “You have to finish the laps to qualify, and at the end, they measure the fuel you have left. We expect to finish the race with our car getting at least 100 miles per gallon.”

The UAB car will be the first at this competition to have a carbon-fiber frame, an innovation the group came up with to make the car more lightweight.

Shell instituted the event to inspire creativity among young engineers and encourage them to embrace the future of mobility and fuel-efficiency. This year’s winner will be determined after the final leg of the event April 27.

The Eco-marathon car was one of two car projects designed by engineering seniors this year. The other was an electric car that finished in second place in a race at Barber Motorsports earlier in the spring.

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