Shell Eco-marathon announces competition for UrbanConcept vehicles

(March 30, 2016) DETROIT — In less than one month, more than 1,200 high school and university students from 129 teams across the Americas — Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States — will return to the streets of downtown Detroit with a fleet of custom-built, ultra-energy efficient cars to compete in the 10th Shell Eco-marathon Americas.

Student teams can choose to participate in one or both of the Prototype (futuristic designed vehicles) and UrbanConcept (traditional designed concept vehicles) classes at Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2016.

Teams competing in the UrbanConcept class will have a new challenge to aim for this year: a chance to compete in a finale race on the world stage in London with teams from across Europe and Asia at the first Shell Eco-marathon Drivers' World Championship, taking place on July 3 at the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

"The Shell Eco-marathon Drivers' World Championship highlights two key concepts in the world of motorsports: energy efficiency and driver efficiency," said Niel Golightly, vice president, external relations for Shell. "This marks the first time that students competing in this race will need to excel at both, adding another layer of challenge to push these future engineers and scientists to the brink of their imaginations." 

For the first time in the 31-year global history of Shell Eco-marathon, which challenges students to build energy-efficient cars that can travel the furthest distance on the least amount of energy, up to 24 of the world's best UrbanConcept teams will come together in the same location to compete in a race to see who is the most energy-efficient driver.

At Shell Eco-marathon Americas in Detroit, UrbanConcept teams will compete in all seven energy source categories: gasoline, diesel, ethanol, GTL, CNG, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell. Up to eight top UrbanConcept teams from the Americas will receive a sponsored trip to London to participate non-competitively in Shell Eco-marathon Europe and later, compete in the Drivers' World Championship.

This will see drivers go head-to-head in a traditional racing car format while maintaining the need to drive efficiently, at the end of which the winning team will earn an invite to spend one week with Scuderia Ferrari at their factory in Italy. Once in Maranello, they will meet the team and receive personal coaching and advice from the engineers on how they can improve their car for the 2017 Shell Eco-marathon.

The global competition will feature a new breakthrough technology that will allow Shell Eco-marathon technical experts to remotely measure the liquid fuels within the student cars in real-time and transmit the fuel consumption to race control instantaneously. Because consumption will be monitored in real-time remotely, teams will compete for both fuel efficiency and speed. The Championship marks the first time that all student teams will drive on the track together in a race to be the first car across the finish line.

"Our new technology is an exciting step in the evolution of Shell Eco-marathon and opens up many more possibilities for future competitions," said Norman Koch, general manager of Shell Eco-marathon. "While still in its early days, we are exploring how this technology can be applied to Prototype vehicles, which have much smaller fuel flows compared to UrbanConcept cars."

Shell Eco-marathon competitions challenge future automotive engineers and scientists to push the limits of energy efficiency and innovate solutions to the world's mobility challenges. Student-built vehicles have achieved more than 3,500 miles per gallon in the Americas challenge.

The public is invited to attend Shell Eco-marathon Americas on April 22-24 at Cobo Center to watch young innovators compete on an outdoor track, and enjoy a festival of innovation, energy and creativity.