Tech’s Eco-marathon team wins first place for second consecutive year

Apr 8, 2013 | Engineering and Science

For the second year in a row, a team of students from Louisiana Tech University has won first place for diesel fuel efficiency in the Urban Concept class of the 2013 Shell Eco-marathon Americas, held this past weekend in Houston, Texas.

Louisiana Tech’s Urban Concept Vehicle, ‘Hot Rod’

Louisiana Tech’s vehicle, “Hot Rod,” defended its 2012 title by achieving 316 miles per gallon, besting the second place team by more than 70 mpg.  The team’s newest vehicle, “Tech Double X,” had a successful debut, coming in fourth place in gasoline fuel efficiency in the Urban Concept class with 355 mpg.
Dr. Heath Tims, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Michael Swanbom, lecturer of mechanical engineering, serve as faculty advisors for Louisiana Tech’s Eco-marathon team and say that they are impressed not just by the results that the Tech team achieved, but also by the level of dedication that these students continue to show year after year.
“It is exciting to see our student’s skills and abilities grow,” said Tims.  “They are producing vehicles that not only perform well on the track, but are also recognized for their eye-catching designs.  I am extremely proud of this year’s Eco-Marathon team, as they continue to succeed.”

Louisiana Tech’s ‘Tech Double X’

Swanbom added, “It is inspiring to me to see how our students consistently persevere through unexpected difficulties with maturity, grace, and good character. It makes me strive to be the best instructor I can be when I have the privilege to guide and work alongside students like ours.”
Louisiana Tech joined more than 1,000 high school and college students from across North America for the annual event which challenges students to build, design and compete with their high-mileage vehicles in competitions that are held each year in Europe, the Americas and Asia.  Students and their fuel-efficient vehicles navigate the streets of downtown Houston for a chance to win cash prizes and to earn prestige for their schools.
Shelton Bryant II, a senior industrial engineering major and member of the Louisiana Tech Eco-marathon team, says that the competition is as much about community building as it is about winning, and his experiences as part of the team have helped him learn to collaborate and lead, both within his team and with others at the competition.
“The team mentored six local high schools, and seeing them come to Houston and put numbers on the board was a great feeling,” said Bryant.  “What was even better was that the team stayed strong under pressure.  Things didn’t always go the way we planned, but the team never quit.  We always encouraged each other to keep going.”
The Louisiana Tech team is composed of students from many academic degree programs, who volunteer for the project, working nights, weekends, and through University breaks.  They design, build, paint and test the cars on their own time.  They also assist with fundraising and publicity, including newspaper and televised interviews.
Written by Brandy McKnight –