Edmonton

Zero-emissions car engineered at the University of Alberta ready to race

A team of University of Alberta engineering students have constructed a zero-emissions car, and will be steering their new ride into a round of international competition.

The zero-emissions vehicle will be put to test in a Michigan clean car competition

It took more than a year for the team of University of Alberta engineering students to construct their zero-emissions car. (Rod Kurtz/CBC Edmonton )

A team of University of Alberta engineering students have constructed a zero-emissions car, and will be steering their new ride into a round of international competition.

A sleek 300 pounds, the curvaceous car — painstakingly built over a year by the U of A Eco-Car Team —runs entirely on hydrogen fuel cells.

"It does have emissions. It emits water. Clean water," said Jason Wang, the team's engineering lead during an interview with CBC's Radio Active

"It's just over three horse-power. So it's very small but very efficient."

The car will be put the test at the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas, a competition for clean car technology in Detroit, Michigan, April 21 - 24.

The team's previous vehicle achieved 618 mpg — the equivalent of 0.1 L/100 km — in the race, and there are even higher hopes for the performance of their latest model, named Alice.

"The carbon frame has made this model 20 per cent lighter. And fuel cell, the engine — even though it's not really an engine because it doesn't burn gas — it's twice as powerful as the previous cars."

Alice isn't exactly the most powerful ride. She tops out at roughly 60 to 70 km/h but Wang says that won't cost them points with the judges.

The team will be evaluated, not only on the energy efficiency of its car, but overall design. The urban concept category requires teams to build a car that looks like a consumer product—with roadworthy features, like a steering wheel and headlights.

The top two qualifiers in the competition will have the chance to race at the European Shell Eco-Marathon in London, England, June 30 - July 3. The U of A has never finished below second-place in the race, and Wang thinks their chances are good this year. 

"The competition is definitely stiff but I could not be more excited."

The team is now fundraising for the cost of shipping the car to the track in Michigan.
The team retired their previous eco-car Steve last year, and got to work engineering a new model named Alice. (University of Alberta/Youtube )

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