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by Tim Beissmann

A group of university students in the US is aiming to break a North American record by creating a car that can travel more than 1400km on one litre of fuel – equivalent to fuel consumption of just 0.071 litres of fuel per 100km.

Competing in its first SAE International Supermileage Challenge, the University of Michigan’s Supermileage Team is nearing completion of its single-person, super-fuel-efficient car that is powered by a single-cylinder Briggs & Stratton lawn mower engine.

The current record stands at 3169mpg (0.074L/100km), but the Ann Arbor-based team is aiming to better that by reaching 3300mpg (0.071L/100km).

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While the team’s chief engineer and co-founder, Brett Merkel admits you won’t see a car on the street capable of achieving 3300mpg in the short-term, he says the technology is heading in that direction.

“Fuel efficiency is one of those issues prevalent in society today,” Merkel said.

“The technology we’re coming up with can have far-reaching effects, and be implemented in just a few years.”

The team has already had some success in this area, with the fuel injection system developed for the vehicle by mechanical engineering student and team member Lihang Nong now the focus of technology company PicoSpray.

Merkel says Nong’s fuel injection system has the potential to reduce the price of single-person vehicles like motorcycles and scooters by 70 per cent, and create 50 times fewer emissions than current engines.

“Since those single-person vehicles are the primary mode of transportation in many third-world countries, it could have a resounding impact on emissions.”

The team will put their car to the test in the Supermileage Challenge in Marshall, Michigan on June 7-8.




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