Shell Eco-Marathon Educates Canadian Students About Fuel Efficiency

How far can you get on one litre of fuel?

Shell is challenging participants in its seventh annual Shell Eco-Marathon Americas to find out.

The annual competition brings together secondary and post-secondary students from across the globe to build eco-friendly and sustainable vehicles.

Individual teams from the Americas, Europe, and Asia will spend the next several months designing and constructing vehicle prototypes which run on limited amounts of fuel. In April, participants in the Eco-Marathon Americas will hit the fast lane in Houston for the competition finals.

Shell Eco-Marathon is dedicated to highlighting different types of sustainable fuels, including biofuels, solar power, and electricity. Once the competition gets underway, vehicles will be judged on their speed and fuel efficiency. The team that can drive the farthest distance on the least amount of fuel will win the top prize for each class and fuel type.

There are two different classes of vehicles in the Shell Eco-Marathon. The Prototype class is focused on efficiency and futuristic design, while the UrbanConcept class is focused on practical designs that you might actually see on the road. Each prototype in the competition must meet specific vehicle dimensions and undergo extensive testing before it is considered road-ready.

The Shell Eco-Marathon dates back to 1985, when the first competition was launched in Europe. Since its initial inception, the Eco-Marathon has drawn vast international attention. An annual competition was launched in the Americas in 2007 and in Asia in 2010.

In last year’s North American competition, vehicles sped along a 970 metre track at an initial average speed of 24 km/h in downtown Houston. The track, which bordered a twelve-acre public park, echoed the eco-friendly vision of the event.

Throughout the world, hundreds of students are speeding ahead with their vehicle designs for the 2013 Eco-Marathon and demonstrating their commitment to improving fuel efficiency. Budding engineers who want to compete in the North American competition are encouraged to sign up now on the official website. Seven teams from Canadian schools, including three-time champion Université Laval, have already pre-registered.

How far will teams need to go to claim the top prize? In 2012, a new record of over 900 km was achieved using a single litre of fuel. With this year’s competition now on track, competitors are already racing towards a new world record, one kilometre at a time.