Team Ethanol cross the finish line

The World Solar Challange has been run and won.

Team Ethanol

The main event, featuring the solar cars, was won by a Dutch team who finished the 3,000km trip in 33 hours 17 minutes at an average speed of 92 km/h.

Team Ethanol play to different rules, however, as they’re in a different class in the event, a class for alternative fuels. Basically, their job was to run their Saab BioPower under pretty normal conditions using both E85 and unleaded petrol and check the emissions data for both fuels.

They’ve had the tests done, but the data is being analysed prior to being published. They were pretty upbeat about it, though:

….Anyway it was all worth it, because the emission figures blew the machine operator away. He reckons they are the lowest emission figures he’s ever seen. And that’s on straight ULP. It should be even better on E85, but anyway even this still makes us easily the most eco friendly Greenfleet car in the event. We’ll be publishing the results soon.

Hopefully we’ll get the fuel economy data soon, as well.

Congratulations to Team Ethanol on completing what must have been an incredibly fun event. You get to observe the solar cars, hang out with all the other teams and cruise Australia from north to south in a Saab 9-5.

Nice work if you can get it.

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  1. Swade, will the team be providing you with the final economy and emissions data? Any word on whether they had the ventilated seats option and if so, did that reduce the usage of air conditioning and therefore increase overall fuel economy?

  2. I read somewhere that the ideal steady speed for an automobile to most efficiently use fuel is something like 53 mph and that’s the reason the 55-mph federal speed limit was set in the United States during the 1973 oil crisis. It was intended to reduce fuel consumption.

    As automobile technology has advanced, is there a new “ideal” speed, or does that vary by vehicle?

    I was trying to think about how one could ideally get from one point to another one using the least fuel. I would think maintaining the same ideal speed over the distance, with the air conditioner off and all accessories (so the alternator is less of a drain on the engine) are turned-off with all the windows up (for better aerodynamics) and utilizing only a light-weight driver (no passengers or cargo, maybe a horse racing jockey as a driver!) without modifying the car at all.

    I know, I’m a freak. 🙂

  3. It’s hardly scientific, but I found this article, which states that they drove a 6-cylinder Chevy Malibu about 200 miles and back. On the way there they drove 55 mph and on the way back they drove the flow of traffic (70 mph). They got 35 mpg (U.S.) on the way there, but it dropped dramatically to 25 mpg on the way back.

    The article quotes an expert that for every 1 mph over 55 mph you drive you lose 1% in fuel economy and increases at a greater rate once you surpass 65 mph.

    Yes, I do realize that while everyone else is talking about getting Saabs over 300 horsepower I’m talking about saving fuel. I’m anything but mainstream. 😉

    I’d like to get my hands on a 2.0t BioPower 9⁵ Combi to try and see what the best fuel economy I can get on E85 is!

    There’s a group called “hypermilers” who usually drive hybrids. I’m not that bad though. 😛

    Not related but interesting: I saw a Porsche Carrera S on the freeway here (L.A.) today with Monaco license plates. That’s a first. I also recently saw plates from El Salvador and Guam(!). I saw a new yellow Ferrari today with Nevada plates. I see Ferraris all the time, but not usually with Nevada plates.

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