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TECHNOLOGY

Eco-car more efficient than light bulb

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Kart racer Jack Dex, 13, will drive the Ech2o prototype at this week's Shell Eco Marathon.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- An eco-car that can travel the world using a fraction of the electricity it takes to power a light bulb has been unveiled by its British creators.

The hydrogen-powered Ech2o needs just 25 Watts -- the equivalent of less than two gallons of petrol -- to complete the 25,000-mile global trip, while emitting nothing more hazardous than water, the UK's Press Association reported.

But with a top speed of 30mph, the journey would take more than a month to complete, even if the car was driven flat out with no pit-stops.

On Thursday Ech2o, built by British gas firm BOC, will bid to smash the world fuel efficiency record of over 10,000 miles per gallon at the Shell Eco Marathon at the Rockingham Raceway track in the UK.

The record is currently held by the PAC-Car II, a hydrogen-fueled Swiss vehicle, that traveled the equivalent of 5,385 km/per liter at a testing track in France.

The BOC Ech2o, which was originally designed to demonstrate fuel efficiency, is a remodeling of the BOC Gh2ost which failed to break the world record in Aberdeen last year.

Unlike most other eco-marathon vehicles that run on petrol or diesel, the BOC Ech2o's driving force comes from electricity, created in a hydrogen fuel cell.

John Carolin, BOC global director sustainable energy, told the PA: "It sounds unbelievable how little power is used to keep the BOC Ech2o moving, but it demonstrates the impact of careful design and is a valuable lesson for car makers in the future.

"The lessons from this and other projects will show that hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles could be a practical, attractive and a viable economic alternative to diesel or petrol fueled vehicles."

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