Louisiana Tech team in Detroit to compete in Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2015

Apr 9, 2015 | Engineering and Science

Louisiana Tech University’s award-winning eco-marathon team will return to competition at the Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2015, Friday through Sunday in Detroit, Michigan, with a new compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle, “CHAMP,” as well as their award-winning urban concept vehicle, “Diesel Dawg.” Last spring, Diesel Dawg won first place in vehicle design and third place in best diesel fuel economy in the Urban Concept class, and was also test driven by Formula One driver Fernando Alonso at the 2014 Formula One Grand Prix race in Austin, Texas.
Diesel Dawg (left) and CHAMP are set to compete in Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2015.

Diesel Dawg (left) and CHAMP are set to compete in Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2015.

Although CHAMP is new to the Louisiana Tech fleet and has been built to meet the criteria for the new CNG category, it has also been developed using the Louisiana Tech brand of innovative engineering and technology. “CHAMP meets the expectations of cutting-edge technology from Louisiana Tech alumni and fans,” said Dr. Heath Tims, associate professor in mechanical engineering and team advisor. “The team has continued their legacy of combining looks and efficiency in the design and build of this year’s car. With the expansion of natural gas drilling in our area, we are excited for the opportunity to compete in the CNG category.” The Shell Eco-marathon competition dates back to 1939 when Shell Oil Company employees in the U.S. made a friendly wager over who could travel the furthest on the same amount of fuel. Since then it has expanded to two more continents, includes many energy types and sparks passionate debate around the future of energy and mobility. The 2015 competition will not only mark the introduction of the CNG category, but will be the first year that the event has been held in Detroit. The event takes place on a 0.9-mile track on city streets surrounding the COBO Center in Downtown Detroit. Shell Oil Company has featured the Louisiana Tech team in a number of Eco-marathon advertisements and promotional videos to highlight the ingenuity and innovative thinking of the student teams that create these eco-friendly vehicles. Most recently, the Louisiana Tech team was featured by NBC’s TODAY Show in a video called, “Redemption and Records: The Student Engineers of Louisiana Tech University Set Out to #MakeTheFuture.” The video can be viewed online at Louisiana Tech’s team of students will join more than 1,000 other university and high school student teams from across North America who will compete with their own innovative and energy-efficient vehicles. “We are excited for the opportunity to compete in the brand new CNG fuel category with CHAMP,” Dr. Michael Swanbom, lecturer in mechanical engineering and team advisor said. “There have been numerous challenges preparing this vehicle, but I have confidence in the dedicated work of our team.” For more information about the Louisiana Tech eco-marathon team, visit their website at Written by Brandy McKnight –