Unusual World Record Set In Johnston County

Most fuel efficient vehicle of its kind at 14,573 MPG.

It may not set any speed records or for that matter you might not ever see it on the highway, but an unusual vehicle set a world record at Galot Motorsports Park near Benson in southern Johnston County.

Shaped more like a bullet than a traditional car — a bullet that seats one person — it established the world record for the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the planet when it finished an eight-and-a-half-mile run producing a mind boggling 14,573 average mpg.

Home base for the car is Duke University’s engineering program in Durham.

Ana Li kneels beside the car she and fellow members of Duke Electric Vehicles built to set a world record in fuel efficiency. She drove the vehicle to a record of just more than 14,000 mpg. The car uses hydrogen as its fuel source.

According to Patrick Grady, the outgoing president of Duke Electric Vehicles, the group which designed and built the record-setter, the vehicle used only 1 gram of fuel.

“To put that in perspective, our vehicle is capable of driving to any point on the globe using the energy in one gallon of gas,” Mr. Grady said.

Before you start scouring the internet to find one for yourself, keep in mind it set the mark with an average speed of 15 mph and it runs on hydrogen.

While it seems like a novel idea, there are not many, if any, hydrogen stations located around the area. And if you have a large family, a small family or even a dog that rides along with you, you probably would want to consider other options, especially since the driver is more horizontal than upright while operating the craft.

The vehicle’s world record was based on the calculations of engineers from N.C. State and North Carolina A&T State universities measuring the total hydrogen consumption, total distance traveled and total time of the run, also ensuring the vehicle ran at an average minimum speed of 15 mph.

Mr. Grady described the circumstances surrounding the competition leading up to the record and other aspects of the run.

“The average speed of the vehicle was 15 mph,” he said. “That’s the speed the Shell Eco-Marathon, the competition the car was designed for, is run at. The slower the car goes the more efficient it is, but it has to drive at least this fast to maintain its real-world relevance.”

Speaking of real-world relevance, when asked about the cost of the car, Mr. Grady said there’s no way to offer a definitive answer, but it’s lower than you might think.

“Cost is a bit hard to definitely say, since a lot of the money goes into the development of the vehicle, but building another identical one would be a lot cheaper,” he said. “I’d guess around $15,000. If it were mass produced, probably $5,000 or $6,000.”

The reasons behind the selection of Galot as the vehicle’s test track were as plentiful as the car was efficient.

“We chose to use Galot Motorsports for a number of reasons,” Mr. Grady said. “The car needs long stretches of very smooth road to operate at its highest efficiency, and the drag strip was perfect for that,” he said. “The track is also very flat, and the people that worked there were fantastic, the staff there were incredible to us.”

-Dunn Daily Record