HOUSTON, Texas — In less than two months, more than 1,000 high school and university students from across the Americas – Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States – will hit Detroit’s downtown streets with a fleet of custom built, ultra-energy efficient cars, all competing in Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2015.
For more than 30 years, Shell Eco-marathon competitions have challenged future automotive engineers and scientists to push the limits — drive the farthest distance using the least energy. Student-built prototype vehicles have achieved more than 3,500 miles per gallon in the Americas challenge.
This year marks the ninth edition of Shell Eco-marathon Americas — but the first ever held in the capital of the auto industry. One hundred schools plan to send 144 teams to Detroit April 10-12, competing in vehicles they have designed, built and tested over the past year.
“Shell Eco-marathon is an invaluable program, shaping the industry leaders who will drive future automotive innovation,” said Niel Golightly, Shell vice president of external relations for the Americas. “Beyond hands-on design and engineering experience, the students practice teamwork and problem solving on the fly — all important for future success.”
This event will see the return of veteran teams such as Université Laval from Quebec, Canada, which took first place last year, and broke the Americas mileage record in 2013 with an astonishing 3,587 mpg. The University of Toronto is also back, hoping the lessons learned from its second place finish in 2014, and hard work on a new car, will finally wrest the title from its Quebec rival. Shell also welcomes several new teams for 2015, including an expanded roster from the Motor City and Brazil.
While many teams are under pressure to finalize their vehicles and ensure they are ready for the start line at Cobo Center in Detroit in April, one veteran student team from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio got a chance to showcase their car to visitors at the Shell Innovation Track at Detroit’s North American International
Auto Show. While at the track, the students met with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Lt. Governor Brian Calley as well as Team Penske executives.
While there, Shell and Team Penske announced a three-year technical support program that will help all student teams. In addition to providing online video conference support, Team Penske will also provide on-site judging for Shell Eco-marathon Americas vehicle entries for the off-track awards, as well as opportunities for behind-the-scenes tours at Team Penske offices.
Said Bud Denker, a senior vice president at Penske Corp.: “We want these students to attend Michigan universities and to work for Michigan-based companies. So, we have committed to providing Team Penske technical support to Shell Eco-marathon Americas teams for the next three years and to provide related support to ensure the success of the program.”
Team Penske NASCAR drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski took to the Shell Innovation Track inside Cobo Center to test drive the Cedarville team’s UrbanConcept vehicle, “Urbie,” which currently gets about 550 mpg. Student-built UrbanConcept vehicle entries can achieve as much as 1,000 mpg and include features such as headlights, windshield wipers and room for a passenger.
“Shell Eco-marathon offers a great opportunity to apply some of the things you learn in the classroom,” said Tyler Dicks, a Cedarville University junior. “You learn some specialized skills that you wouldn’t necessarily get in an academic setting.”
The public is invited to watch the young competitors on the streets downtown, and join the fun inside Cobo Center — all for free.
Covering more than half a million square feet indoors, the multi-sensory journey into the world’s energy future and seeing what the student teams are doing behind the scenes of the competition is both exciting and educational for all ages. Free tickets for Shell
Eco-marathon Americas are available at www.shellecomarathon.us.
For more information visit www.shell.com/ecomarathon and www.shellecomarathon.com.