More than 1,000 students from 128 teams are working to finish their custom-built, ultra-energy efficient vehicles in the final days leading up to the 10th Shell Eco-marathon Americas, taking place in Detroit on April 22-24.
With a record to beat of 3,587 miles per gallon, set by Quebec’s Université Laval in 2013, schools from across the Americas – including Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States – are pulling out all the stops to push the limits of energy-efficiency and innovate solutions to the world’s most pressing mobility challenges.
“We had a record number of teams make it to Detroit in 2016,” said Pam Rosen, general manager for Shell Eco-marathon Americas. “Each year we have more schools and countries joining this exciting competition. It’s inspiring to see how passionate these young people are about innovation, automobiles and energy. Their bright ideas are exactly what are needed to create a cleaner, smarter energy future.”
For more than 30 years, the global Shell Eco-marathon competitions have challenged students to build energy-efficient cars that can travel the farthest distance on the least amount of energy.
Teams can choose from seven energy classes including, diesel, gasoline, ethanol, gas-to-liquid (GTL), compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen and battery electric technologies and enter into one of two vehicle categories: Prototype, which invites students to enter futuristic, streamlined vehicles, or UrbanConcept, which focuses on “roadworthy” fuel-efficient vehicles aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers.
On average over the last 10 seasons, 21 percent of teams have competed in the UrbanConcept category verses 79 percent in the Prototype category, indicating a greater interest in designing cars that maximize fuel efficiency, both internally and aesthetically.
Canada’s own University of Toronto won the competition last year, achieving 3,421 mpg while also being the only team to build their engine from scratch.