A student-built railroad car called Eximus IV has set a record at the annual Delsbo Electric contest for the world's most energy-efficient vehicles.
The Eximus team, who were the reigning champions from last year's contest, beat the tough competition to post an energy efficiency of 0.517 Wh/person-km.
Energy efficiency to the max
The Delsbo Electric competition, which takes place in Sweden once a year, tasks students with building ultra-efficient battery-powered electric vehicles for a maximum of six passengers.
The competition specifically asks students to design their vehicles for rails so as to keep rolling resistance to a minimum. The competition has the separate designs take on a 2.1 miles (3.36 km) course using as little energy as possible.
After crossing the finish line, the energy used by each vehicle is then divided by the number of passengers on board.
The competition organizers, Delsbo Electric say that all the electric vehicles that took part in the 2020 annual contest are so efficient that they use less energy than the headlights in an ordinary car.
The leader of the pack, however, was the Eximus IV. The Eximus team has won every Delsbo Electric competition since they first entered in 2016 and have gradually added to efficiency records set by themselves over the past few years.
In 2016, Eximus won the competition with a 0.84 watt-hour per person per kilometer effort.
A new record at Delsbo Electric 2020
Now, in 2020, the Eximus team hit an energy efficiency of 0.517 Wh/person-km, setting a new record for the most energy-efficient transportation of a person.
"In theory Eximus IV can transport a person nearly halfway around the world using the energy contained in just one liter (0.26 gal) of petrol," Delsbo Electric's CTO, professor Henrik Rödjegård, explained in a press release.
While the teams make the most precise measurements and minuscule adjustments to get the best possible efficiency, the Delsbo Electric track is an engineering marvel in and of itself. The entire track is fitted with advanced measuring equipment that allows captures vehicle performance data two thousand times a second.
In the future, Delsbo Electric says it will add additional data points such as wind and temperature sensors to help the teams create even more advanced ultra-efficient machines.