The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has set a new world record for fuel efficiency. The world record-holding PAC Car operates on a hydrogen-powered fuel cell. Using the lower heating values of hydrogen and gasoline as a conversion basis, this world record now stands at 5385 kilometers per liter of gasoline.
PAC Car has an optimized fuel cell system that produces electrical energy from hydrogen and drives two high-efficiency electric motors. The only “emission” from PAC Car is pure water. The car weighs in at less than 30 kilograms.
It achieved the top result at the Shell Eco-marathon on the Michelin proving grounds at Ladoux, France on June 24 to June 26, 2005. The vehicle used only 1.02 grams of hydrogen to drive the distance of 20.68 km at an average speed of 30 km/h. This converts to about 5385 kilometers per litre of gasoline, a new world record in minimal fuel consumption. This means that PAC Car would only use the energy stored in about eight liters of gasoline to drive around the globe.
PAC Car is a collaborative project of ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Office for Energy, the Paul Scherrer Institute, the University of Valenciennes, France and the industrial partners ESORO, RUAG and Tribecraft. About 20 ETH students worked on the project, most of them from the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering. The two drivers, both women, are also students at ETH Zurich. They tested the system extensively with their partners from science and industry, which means that there is a good chance that some of the ideas and results generated in the project will be integrated into street vehicles in the future. This should contribute to a reduction in fuel consumption and pollutant emissions from passenger vehicles.
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