Aston University's entry into this year's Shell Eco-Marathon may look a little low-tech, but that didn't stop the hydrogen-fueled, flat-pack cardboard and plywood car from scooping the Eco-Design award at the European event, held in Rotterdam in May.
The use of environmentally-friendly materials extends right down to the tire covers, made from a bio-resin incorporating hessian fibers. The panels of the body are made from a plywood-cardboard-plywood composite, with the outer layers obtained from a sustainable source, qualifying them for certification by the British Forestry Commission.
The body is designed to for flat-pack shipping and assembly, allowing for more efficient shipping, which no doubted contributed to the team's winning of the prize.
The apparently nameless car, powered by a Nexa Ballard hydrogen fuel cell, was entered into the "UrbanConcept" category of the Eco-Marathon. The event saw 3000 students from 24 countries and 200 teams competed in the European event, in which cars don't race in the traditional sense, but instead seek to demonstrate fuel efficiency.
This year's European event saw three records broken. Team Electricar Solution from France achieved a range of 262.6 km (163.2 miles) per kilowatt-hour in the same "UrbanConcept" category as the team from Aston. DTU Roadrunners from the Technical University of Denmark achieved a fuel efficiency of 611.1 km per liter (1437 mpg) in the same category, beating their own record by 102.1 km per liter (240 mpg).
MAC Eco Team from the Netherlands smashed the fuel efficiency record of 138 km per liter (325 mpg) set in the Prototype category in 2011, achieving 416.3 km per liter (979 mpg).