Scottish students race for Silverstone

A vehicle with a target fuel consumption of 3,500 miles per gallon is being developed by a team of Scottish students in Dundee. The Evolution 3, which cost £1,700, is undergoing trials at Knockhill racetrack in Fife in preparation for the 22nd Shell Mileage Marathon, scheduled for Silverstone in July. Vehicles have to complete six […]

A vehicle with a target fuel consumption of 3,500 miles per gallon is being developed by a team of Scottish students in Dundee.

The Evolution 3, which cost £1,700, is undergoing trials at Knockhill racetrack in Fife in preparation for the 22nd Shell Mileage Marathon, scheduled for Silverstone in July. Vehicles have to complete six laps of a 10-mile circuit, using the least amount of fuel, averaging at least 15mph.

The Evolution 3 team, based in the science and engineering school at the University of Abertay, has built a fuel-injection system into the car to boost engine performance. An on-board lightweight Micro-robotics Scorpion computer has been installed which, when fully set up, will leave only steering to the driver.

Team leader Donnie McLeod said: `We were 24th out of 112 last year. This year we’re aiming to get in the top 10.

`The sophistication of the computer control and fuel injection system will make the biggest difference. Good control is worth an extra 2,000-3,000mpg – as good as an efficient body shape.’

Evolution 3’s computer is linked to 10 sensors which measure and control wheel rotation, engine revs, engine temperature and ambient and air intake temperature, as well as air flow rate, exhaust temperature, battery voltage and exhaust gas.

The vehicle uses a `coast-and-burn’ technique to optimise fuel efficiency. The team has written software to read the signals from the on-board sensors and instruct the driver. Data can also be downloaded onto a laptop computer at the end of each run, so engineers can measure performance against changes in vehicle settings or ambient conditions.

The team hopes to boost Evolution 3’s performance by 75% compared to its predecessor’s 1,997mpg.

{{Evolution 3: vital statistics

Target fuel consumption 3,500mpgBody structure Glass reinforced plasticMax speed 30mph (48km/hr)Average speed 15mph (25km/hr)Length 2.67mWeight 42.3kgsDrag coefficient 0.12Engine chassis base Honda C50Form 4-stroke petrolCapacity 49.5ccPower 3.2kw (4.2hp)Fuel supply CarburettorNo of valves TwoLayout 3 wheels – 2 frontSteering Front wheelsWheelbase 1.20mTyres Michelin 20 inch slickBrakes 2 caliper on rear wheel}}