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Louisiana Tech students return to Shell Eco-Marathon with ‘Diesel Dawg’

Louisiana Tech University’s award-winning eco-marathon team will return to national competition, April 25-27 in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition in Houston, with a new student-designed vehicle named “Diesel Dawg.”

Louisiana Tech's team prepares 'Diesel Dawg' for the Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition in Houston.

Louisiana Tech’s team prepares ‘Diesel Dawg’ for the Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition in Houston.

The red and black, stealth design eco car will compete in the Urban Concept category along with their car from last year’s competition, “Tech Double X.”  Louisiana Tech’s team of students will join more than 1,000 other university and high school student teams from across North America at the annual event where fuel-efficient vehicles will navigate the streets of downtown Houston.

Dr. Heath Tims, associate professor of mechanical engineering and team adviser, says this year’s students have a new strategy for competing. 

“For the first time since we began entering the race, we’ve made a strategic decision not to build a prototype car and to focus only on urban concept vehicles,” explains Tims.  “Prototype vehicles are strictly designed for fuel efficiency while urban concept cars mimic a true urban environment where students are required to stop and go while driving the vehicle.  We have a history of doing well with urban concept cars as well as vehicles using diesel fuel, so our new car ‘Diesel Dawg,’ will highlight both of those strengths.”

The primary goal of the Eco-marathon Americas competition is to encourage the world’s next generation of engineers and scientists to consider new, sustainable ways to meet the rising demand for energy.  Cash prizes will be awarded for eco design, safety, and technical innovation.  This year marks the last time the event will be held in Houston as next year’s event will be held in Detroit.

The team members, comprised of 16 engineering and science students, volunteers to participate in the competition and do not receive class credit for their work.  They design, build, paint and test the cars on their own time, usually in the evenings, after class and on weekends.

For more information or to follow the Louisiana Tech team, visit www.latechecocar.com.

Written by Catherine Fraser – cfraser@latech.edu