Why does this team’s high-efficiency car look like a taxi?

Ride-sharing is the idea that students at St. Paul’s School in Covington, Louisiana wanted to drive home with the vehicle they built for Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013. It’s nicknamed “Big Yellow Taxi,” and modeled after Benny the cartoon taxi in the movie, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

“Everyone’s saying, ‘Look for the next best fuel, the next best innovation,’” explains Quinn Anglada, a high school junior, in the video above, with teammates Adam Fink and Andrew Jung, and coach John Carambat. “The simplest thing that you can do today, is just to get into a car with a friend. If you carpool, you’re doubling your gas mileage. If you carpool with two people, you’re tripling it.”

The team actually doesn’t skimp on innovation are alternative fuels, however. St. Paul’s is one of only five schools among the 112 in the competition running a vehicle on biodiesel.  And the team also entered two battery electric vehicles in the competition.

Big Yellow Taxi efficient car

St. Paul’s School in Covington, Louisiana, is designed as a reminder of one easy way to double your mileage. Photo courtesy Shell Eco-marathon.

It has been a rough year for St. Paul’s. One of their teammates and close friends, Justin Addison, who was a competitive cyclist, was killed in January from injuries sustained when his bike was struck by a vehicle.  A tribute to him appears on the team’s Facebook page. They are dedicating the competition to his memory.