Ruston High School's Trident, entry into Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013

Photograph courtesy Team Ruston

School: Ruston High School

Team: Team Ruston

Car Name: Trident (Gasoline Prototype category)

What is special about your car? Team Ruston's Trident features outstanding reliability and innovative engineering. It was our team's first year in competition, so our main goal was to build a safe car and pass the technical inspection. Not only did we accomplish that specific goal, but we also finished ahead of many other high schools and even universities after completing a run at 243 miles per gallon. Team Ruston had four official runs and four practice runs without a single safety or mechanical issue. Each time we left the starting line, we crossed the finish line. Our three-wheeled car is very unique in that it is essentially the back of a motorbike attached to the steel frame of a car. This design speaks of the car's simplicity in innovation. Its 50cc engine was the only kick-started engine in the entire Eco-marathon, which made our car well known for its individuality and simplicity. As one technical inspector said, our car is an example of "engineering at its finest." Because we relied on what we knew would work and allow us to compete well, our first-year car not only exceeded our expectations, but it also impressed many others.  This year's success will serve as a platform for future success at Shell Eco-marathon.

Why is fuel efficiency important to your team? Fuel efficiency is important to our team because of what efficiency can mean for our society. Our team wants to inspire change that can help our country and world, as more efficient driving can lead to less dependence on fossil fuels and a cleaner environment. We understand the benefits that come from fuel efficiency can help future generations. Using less fuel leads to cleaner air by reducing emissions that harm the environment. Less dependence on fossil fuels will create a better environment for all of us. Teaching efficiency to young people can also help future generations by encouraging them to make wise, eco-friendly decisions. The economic benefits of efficiency are also great as fuel prices continue to rise. If one can save on fuel, then they can use their money in other ways, which can boost our economy. Efficiency is important, as many of the resources we currently use are limited. By being more efficient, our society can become less dependent.

Who or what inspired you on the way to Eco-marathon? Our team was initially inspired by the opportunity to compete. We have seen local teams like Louisiana Tech compete and succeed in this event and wanted to do so as well. After we started working, we also became inspired by the opportunities this project presented. Each day working together led to new problems which forced us to learn in order to complete the project. We had no choice but to educate ourselves, or we would not have finished the car. The challenges allowed us to grow as students and as people by forming relationships, which allowed teamwork to drive progress. Overcoming these challenges and seeing ones ahead of us inspired the countless hours of work, even when it seemed at times as if we were accomplishing very little. We were not confined by grades or assignments, but were instead only motivated by the desire to complete the task in front of us in competition. This freedom given to us made us want to work hard and enjoy our efforts. No team member received a letter grade or a course credit, but learned lessons and built relationships that will last for a lifetime. Seeing these experiences unfold strengthened our desire to work countless hours to finish the car and compete, which we did successfully.

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