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Date: March 26, 2008

UVic Car 10 Times More Fuel Efficient Than Others

University of Victoria engineering students are putting their fuel cell vehicle on the world stage next month when they compete against two other Canadian teams and 35 teams from the United States and Mexico at the world-renowned Shell Eco-marathon Americas in California April 10 to 13.

The event will showcase a line-up of futuristic, eco-friendly vehicles competing for a grand prize of $10,000 by traveling the farthest distance on the least amount of fuel. The fuel efficiency of contemporary vehicles sold today ranges from 12.76 to 17.01 kilometres per litre (30 to 40 miles per US gallon), and next month the UVic interdisciplinary team of engineers, led by team manager, Mike Carl, plans to unveil a vehicle with at least 10 times the best fuel efficiency of today's modern vehicle. The H2Drive team is comprised of highly-qualified undergraduate and graduate engineering students with a strong background in automotive mechanics, fuel cell systems, hybrid vehicles, hydrogen storage, instrumentation and machine design. All of the members have a vested interest in environmental sustainability. Along with the UVic team, teams from Laval University and UBC will also be competing.

H2Drive team member and car driver Aimy Bazylak is a doctoral candidate in UVic’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her research with UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic) involves studying the flow of water, one of the by-products of the electrochemical reactions in fuel cells, to achieve improved performance.

“Competing in the Shell Eco-Marathon is a great venue for showcasing our engineering design skills as well as our interest in promoting sustainable transportation,” says Bazylak. “Furthermore, it allows us to engage the local community in learning about sustainable energy technologies, such as fuel cells.”

More details about the team and the H2Drive (fuel cell) vehicle are available at www.me.uvic.ca/~h2drive/. For more information about the Eco-marathon visit www.shell.com/home/content/eco-marathon-en/welcome_global.html

Media contacts:
Aimy Bazylak (Mechanical Engineering) at 250-472-4221or abazylak@me.uvic.ca
Maria Lironi (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6139, cell 250-213-1705 or lironim@uvic.ca
Jennifer Livingstone (Shell Canada Limited) at 403-384 5453 or Jennifer.Livingstone@shell.com

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

(image: fern)