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Road To Future May Run Through Swarthmore College Engineers

Winnie Ngo tests out the Fuel Cell Vehicle. (Photo provided by Neil Macfarland)

Winnie Ngo tests out the Fuel Cell Vehicle. (Photo provided by Neil Macfarland)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Talk about a road trip: a team of Swarthmore students leave today for Houston to test their concept vehicle at the Shell Eco Marathon Americas.

The Fuel Cell Vehicle is certainly no SUV says project leader Neil Macfarland:

“It’s about eight-and-a-half feet long, three feet wide and two feet tall, so it’s really low and long.”

And with just three wheels and no suspension, it’s not ready for our potholed streets.

Macfarland says fine-tuning of the vehicle from previous competitions discovered that while the hydrogen fuel cell is really efficient, the engine is not:

“So it looks like we should be trying to run at or near 15 MPH, which is actually convenient for us because the competition mandates that you drive at a minimum average speed of 15 miles an hour for the duration of the six-mile course.”

Macfarland says the vehicle has been getting what translates to 1,200 miles per gallon.

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