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Eco-car team examines solutions for energy crisis

Each New Year offers the opportunity to start fresh and make changes in small or large ways.

A group of Louisiana Tech students have set the goal of placing first in the 2018 Shell Eco-marathon Americas (SEM), an international competition hosted in three locations around the world by Shell Global. This year’s competition will be held in April in Sonoma, California. There, 150 teams from North and South America gather to compete for the title of most energy efficient vehicle in their category.

“Our team designs and builds a vehicle that averages about 400 miles per gallon,” said Dr. Heath Tims, advisor for the Louisiana Tech University Eco-car Team. “The car must meet street-legal qualifications and must include the same features as cars we use on the roads today.”

The team uses carbon fiber bodies and professional-quality paint jobs to draw the eyes of spectators as well as fellow participants. Members come from different backgrounds and majors to form a fully functioning team that runs much like a business.

“Engineers are not solely responsible for developing solutions to the world’s energy crisis, and engineers are not solely responsible for making this team,” team member Madison Wooley said. “We all play a part in working for a better world.”

The competition offers off-track awards in communication, technical innovation, safety, and vehicle design. The team’s new partnership with Louisiana Tech’s School of Design (SOD) stands to boost the program into a new era, improving branding and promotion for the team.

“Ultimately, we’re binding two colleges at Louisiana Tech to excel in the competition, earn our way back to the podium and make our university proud,” Wooley said.

Follow the team’s journey online @LATechEcoCar.