/>
X

Photos: 1,000 miles per gallon or bust

An oil company sponsoring an event to reduce fuel consumption? The Shell Eco-marathon's been around for 50 years.
18092.jpg
1 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

parade

Imagine an oil company sponsoring an annual event to develop better fuel economy. The idea began 50 years ago with a bet among scientists at Shell's Illinois research lab and has grown into the Shell Eco-marathon. The winner of the first challenge ran at 50 miles per gallon of gas to take the pot.

In 1977, Shell organized the first competition in Mallory Park, Ill. for outside teams. And in 1985, the first European Shell Eco-marathon was held in France. Following is a look a some of the more interesting designs over the past few years.

The cars line up for the 1985 competition in France.

18093.jpg
2 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

1985 car

This 1985 cigar-shaped vehicle doesn't look that much different from the ones that competed in the 2006 competition. The winner ran the equivalent of 680 kilometers on a liter of fuel or about 1,600 miles per gallon.

18094.jpg
3 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Federal Polytechnical School of Zurich

The 2005 entry from the Federal Polytechnical School of Zurich resembled a turtle and was just about fast but it did achieve an equivalent of 3,836 kilometers per liter or about 9,000 miles per gallon. At a competition a month later the vehicle used high-tech tires from Michelin and achieved 5,385 kilometers per liter or 12,600 miles per gallon. The car did not win the grand prize because it was too slow.

The 2006 winner only hit 2,885 kilometers per liter or 6,786 miles per gallon.

18095.jpg
4 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

ball

A team tried this design--balancing on two wheels and a ball in 2003. It hasn't been repeated.

18096.jpg
5 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

1985 car

This 1985 convertible that looks like a baby buggy failed to gain support.

18097.jpg
6 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

no age limit

It looks like a very young driver was used to keep the weight down for this vehicle from the Ext. Secundario team from Soito in the collegiate division. It didn't help much as the vehicle placed 86th.

18098.jpg
7 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Jaws

This 2005 model from IFTS Charleville Mezieres looks like it would do quite well in a demolition derby--especially after it came in 100th place out of 127 vehicles.

18099.jpg
8 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Spy car?

Here's a 2002 car that looks like it was modeled after "Spy vs. Spy."

18100.jpg
9 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

This design from 2003 appears to leave little room for the driver.

18101.jpg
10 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

2002 big wheel

The tires make a big impression on the 2002 entry from the Clermont de l'Oise Optima team.

18102.jpg
11 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

2003 big wheel

The big-wheel design was back in 2003.

18103.jpg
12 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

hot wheels?

This 2003 urban concept, an entry based on a real automobile, looks like a grown-up matchbox car.

18104.jpg
13 of 13 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

urban concept

A future on the road? At least the the boxy style of this 2005 Lycee Louis Delange lets the driver sit up.

Related Galleries

First look: iPhone 13 Apple event [in pictures]
california-streaming-2.jpg

Related Galleries

First look: iPhone 13 Apple event [in pictures]

72 Photos
Toshiba laptops through the ages
screenshot-2020-08-11-at-11-52-27.png

Related Galleries

Toshiba laptops through the ages

11 Photos
The naughty list: Tech CEOs getting coal for Christmas
Coal

Related Galleries

The naughty list: Tech CEOs getting coal for Christmas

10 Photos
Tech turkeys: Apple and Google dominate the year's menu of failures
placeholder.png

Related Galleries

Tech turkeys: Apple and Google dominate the year's menu of failures

26 Photos
The Nightmare in Silicon Valley: 8 horror technologies that should scare you to death
try.jpg

Related Galleries

The Nightmare in Silicon Valley: 8 horror technologies that should scare you to death

8 Photos
2019's tech, security, and authentication trends
Tech chart graph stats

Related Galleries

2019's tech, security, and authentication trends

13 Photos
Carry on: Must-have minimalist travel gadgets in 2019
screenshot-2019-05-29-at-15-19-01.png

Related Galleries

Carry on: Must-have minimalist travel gadgets in 2019

11 Photos