"Showing up is 80 percent of life," Woody Allen once famously said. Ask the students at the Netherlands' Han University of Applied Sciences who competed in the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe, and they may say that the director/actor was understating his point. Because just getting their car to the starting line of the contest was a victory in itself.
Han Hydromotive's hydrogen vehicle actually won the contest, beating out 197 other student teams for the eco-driving title. The real achievement, though, was getting the Dutch government to grant the team a street-legal license for the single-seater. The government did its part after the team added safety features such as a windshield-wiping system, blinkers and headlights. Once licensed, the team drove the car the 65 miles or so from its campus in Nijmegen to the starting line in Rotterdam.
As for the Americas version of this year's Shell Eco-Marathon, the winner was Université Laval, whose vehicle reached more than 2,800 miles per gallon. University of Toronto's entry topped 2,700 mpg for second place of the contest, which was held in Houston.
The Dutch team members say their vehicle can go as far as 500 kilometers on a liter of hydrogen, or about 1,175 miles per gallon. Check out a four-minute video on the team below.