A hydrogen-powered car has set a new world record - running on the equivalent of more than 5,000 km per litre of petrol.

The Pac II car, a joint project between ETH Zurich with partners from academic institutions and industry, came first at the Shell Eco-Marathon in Ladoux, France, completing one circuit of the 25km track using just one gram of hydrogen – the equivalent of around 5,385 kilometres per litre of petrol.

However, despite its success, the car is not due to be raced again. Instead ETH says its main objectives now are the publication of articles and reports explaining the technical details of the system.

Project director, Lino Guzzella, said: \\$quot;The Pac Car I and II have probed the actual fuel economy limits of road vehicles. They are an excellent breadboard to integrate and test the latest developments in materials, aerodynamics, structures and systems and many other disciplines into one system. I am convinced that some of the ideas that have been generated in this project will eventually show up on the road and, following our main mission, contribute to saving fuel and reducing harmful pollutants of passenger cars.\\$quot;

The car, which is less than three metres long, works with a fuel cell taking in hydrogen and air and uses an AC/DC converter to provide the energy needed to drive two motors. The amount of hydrogen carried on board is flexible.

One of the features making it so fuel efficient is its aerodynamics, this was improved for the Pac II over the Pac I and now has only a fourth the amount of drag of the earlier model.

It will now be put on display at three locations: 27 - 28 August – Env-Cup, Melk, Austria; 8 – 11 September Vel2, Lugano; 22 September Bern bewegt.

The main sponsor of the project was the Federal Energy Office which is hoping to promote energy efficient systems and renewable energy.

For further information:
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich