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Cedarville professor Dr. Mark Caleb Smith on a television newscast.

Super-Mileage Team Shines at Eco-Marathon

by Rae McKee, Public Relations Writer

The Shell Eco-Marathon challenges students to design, build and drive ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. The Motor City was the backdrop to this competition that featured universities and high schools throughout the world.

By the time the competition concluded, Cedarville University’s super-mileage car team continued its demonstration of excellence in developing fuel-efficient vehicles at the 2016 Shell Eco-Marathon Americas with a second place finish in the Urban Concept division and sixth place in the Prototype Gasoline category. The event was held April 23-24 event in downtown Detroit. 

“Urbie,” the team’s urban concept car reached 278 miles per gallon and finished ahead of the University of British Columbia and the University of Texas at Dallas. Cedarville's other vehicle, "Sting,” generated 1,031 miles per gallon in the Prototype Gasoline race. It finished 35 mpg shy of tying third-place Northern Illinois University, but ahead of the University of Illinois and UCLA.

“We’ve created a fantastic relationship with Shell and it has given us new opportunities, such as going to the Detroit Auto Show last year to display and test drive our urban concept car,” said Larry Zavodney, Ph.D., senior professor of mechanical engineering. “This is just one way God has given us an audience to display His glory and the capabilities He’s given these students.”

To prepare for the competition, students invested hundreds of hours building, designing, and testing their vehicles. Mechanical, computer, and electrical engineering students, along with computer science students built the vehicles. 

“This competition is more than a fun way to apply student skills,” said Zavodney. “It is a way for the students to develop the way they think and an opportunity to apply what they learn, while managing the complications that always come with competition.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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