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Mater Dei Wins Green Car Design Challenge With 2,188 mpg Vehicle

Evansdale, IN-based Mater Dei High School took home top honors in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2012 competition with its 2,188 miles-per-gallon vehicle.

The school's team takes home a $2,000 first place prize with its vehicle, 9th Gen, for winning the Prototype class.

Students from Mater Dei also achieved 611 mpg in another category, the UrbanConcept class with an entry named "George," in honor of the flying car driven by George Jetson in the series, "The Jetsons." That win also carried a $2,000 prize.

The winners were joined by more than 1,000 high school and university students and 113 vehicles taking part in the sixth annual competition.

The goal of the competition was to design a vehicle using as little energy as possible to travel the farthest distance. To better test the vehicles in an urban environment, the competition was held on the streets of downtown Houston, TX, the third year the competition has taken place there.

In addition to the Houston event, the competition is also held in Europe and Asia with involvement from thousands of students in more than 40 countries.

Vehicles competing in the Prototype class are one-seater models with either three or four wheels and may have an open or closed driver's compartment top.

For the UrbanConcept class, students must build a vehicle with four wheels. While vehicles in the Prototype class are often sleek and futuristic in design, vehicles in the UrbanConcept class must resemble vehicles of today.

Specific criteria must be met for vehicles in the UbranConcept class including height, length, weight, and width, and the vehicles have to be able to run in "light, wet weather conditions," according to competition rules.

A variety of construction materials are allowed, with some models at this year's event including bamboo, for example.

Power sources for vehicles can vary, using internal combustion or some type of e-mobility energy source that can include "diesel, gasoline, ethanol, FAME, solar, hydrogen and battery electric technologies," according to Shell.

"The 2012 competition once again illuminates how much farther we can go to make real headway in the energy challenge facing our planet," said Shell Eco-marathon Global Manager Mark Singer. "What the talented teams competing this year showed us were the wide array of smart options available. We're proud that Shell Eco-marathon is part of the greater fuel efficiency solution."

A complete list of first-place winners in all categories can be found Shell's Web site. More information is available at or on the company's Facebook page at