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Car running solely on hydrogen built by San Antonio College students

Students to show off hydrogen car at Shell's Eco-Marathon in Detroit

SAN ANTONIO – A car built buy students from San Antonio College can get hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to the gallon, but it's not just an ordinary car. Their vehicle runs on hydrogen. And the students are about to show off their innovative creation in a national setting. 

Student Eben Pfeil loved building things, even as a child.

"(I) built model rockets, launched them up, put in bigger motors to see how high I could send them without them exploding," he said.

Now, Pfeil has taken that passion and turned it into a car that runs solely on hydrogen.

"This is voluntary. We're doing this for the experience of having design, having manufacturing, having testing and engineering practice before we move on into four-year schools and into jobs afterwards," Pfeil said.

For the last year, Pfeil has been working as the car's mechanical engineer. Irene Salazar is the electrical engineer and by default, the driver.

"Because I was shorter," Salazar said about being the driver. "When we started building the car, we needed someone shorter because of the compartment."

Salazar is able to steer the car while lying down almost horizontally.

"It was awesome!" Salazar said. "It was like driving an actual car. The fastest speed I got it up to was 21 miles an hour, and that's pretty fast for it being so close to the ground. It feels really, really fast."

Salazar said she'll race the car Thursday at Shell's Eco-marathon in Detroit. It's a driving competition that showcases energy-efficient innovations. The San Antonio College race car team will drive its invention against other cars like it.

After unveiling the car to the public Friday, the teammates wanted to share their pride with anyone out there dreaming of building and creating.

"Learn about engineering. Engineering is very broad, so you can do anything," Salazar said.

"This is a great future. We need you. We need engineers. We need scientists, and you can do a lot of amazing things with it," Pfeil said.

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