Ludlow School's super-efficient car
School engineers design 'car of the future'
By Tom Warren
A car which is four times more fuel efficient than most on the UK market has been designed by a group of Shropshire students.
A team of Shropshire students have designed a car which does an incredible 170 miles per gallon (mpg).
The young engineers aged 11 to 15 are pupils at Ludlow Church of England School and made the vehicle out of recycled materials, BMX wheels and an old 50 cc moped engine.
It runs on unleaded petrol and the budding car designers have calculated their vehicle could drive on one tank from Ludlow to Yorkshire.
After entering the car in this year's Shell Eco Marathon at Rockingham in Northamptonshire the youngsters are now hoping to build a vehicle which could run at 660 mpg.
The aim of the annual Shell-sponsored event is to design, build and drive a machine using the least amount of energy.
Dan Cooper, 14, the team's main driver, said ensuring the car was aerodynamic had been one of the biggest challenges facing the engineering enthusiasts, who get together on Wednesday evenings after school and during lunch breaks.
"It was up to us to find all the equipment and parts, it's not done for us we do it all," he said.
"You learn a lot and it's good if you want to be a future engineer."
On Tuesday the team unveiled its car design for 2008 which will feature a light-weight steel chassis.
Siobhan MacNaughton-Hughes, 15, is studying an engineering NVQ course at the Aspire Centre in Tenbury Wells alongside her school studies.
The Ludlow School team with their car
She said the hardest part of designing the 2007 car was getting it to run on as little fuel as possible.
After months of hard work, the pupils managed to get 170.4 mpg from their car - about four times the fuel efficiency of a Ford Fiesta.
Westfield Sports Cars is supporting the school and pupils enjoyed a guided tour of the factory earlier this year to give them a glimpse of car production.
The company took a sports car along to Ludlow on Tuesday for the pupils to experience a ride.
Ludlow MP Philip Dunne also attended to meet the talented school team.
Kevin Parry, technology teacher, said his students had shown huge commitment throughout the year to get the car built.
And Darren Hodson of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said: "This is an amazing achievement for the pupils and with technology like this we really are looking at cars of the future."
last updated: 30/04/2008 at 12:00