Asian student engineers fight it out at 10th Asian Shell Eco-Marathon
By Tan Jee Yee May 7, 2019
- Event saw 100 student teams from 18 countries across the Asia Pacific and Middle East
- Top teams will win a place in the 2019 Drivers’ World Championship in London
WHEN the flag went down at the Sepang International Circuit on April 29, it wasn’t just flagging off the Make the Future Live Malaysia 2019 event. It was also the start of the 10th Asian edition of the Shell Eco-marathon, which finally sees it return to the place where it first started – in Malaysia.
The event brought together 100 student teams from 18 countries across Asia Pacific and the Middle East to test which originally-designed car could go the farthest using the least amount of energy.
It is one of the world’s longest-running student competitions, challenging students to design and build ultra-energy-efficient cars and then putting them to the test in competition.
The flag-off ceremony was led by Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (Mestecc) deputy secretary general Dr Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu and Shell Malaysia chairman Iain Lo.
“This year, Shell Eco Marathon has returned to Malaysia to celebrate a decade of competition between Asian universities. Each year, we see an increase in innovations in vehicle design, in fuel efficiency performance, as well as in participant team spirit. The flag-off that kick-started Shell Eco-Marathon Asia today will not just start the competition but also signals the beginning of many journeys of discovery in cleaner energy," Lo said.
Farther with less
The student teams competed in one of two categories in the competition: Prototype – futuristic and highly aerodynamic vehicles – or UrbanConcept – vehicles that resemble today’s cars. Fifty-six student teams participated in the UrbanConcept category while 53 duked it out in the Prototype category.
Students competed in three different categories based on their selected energy source: Internal Combustion Engine (ICE): Gasoline, diesel, ethanol (biofuel); hydrogen fuel cell; and battery electric power.
Vehicles must pass a detailed technical inspection before they are allowed onto the track to see how far they can go on the least amount of fuel. Forty-five student teams passed the technical inspection, of which three are from Malaysia.
In addition, teams had the opportunity to take part in a qualifier for the Drivers’ World Championship – a race to see who crosses the finish line first without running out of their limited allocation of energy. Top teams will win their place in the 2019 Drivers’ World Championship, to be held in July in London.
The UrbanConcept mileage challenge came to a close on May 1, 2019, the third day of the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia. Of the winners, UiTM Eco-Planet from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Shah Alam from Malaysia won third place under the hydrogen fuel cell category.
D'haziq Wazieen Saidin, team manager for UiTM Eco-Planet said: “We are very happy to have made an achievement in the UrbanConcept mileage challenge and are very thankful to our lecturers, parents and UiTM for all their support.
“Last year, our team competed but, we did not achieve a notable win. We used that experience as a learning curve to come back this year and further improve ourselves, and this time we managed to win the third place allowing us to qualify for Shell Eco-Marathon Drivers’ World Championship.“
“The UrbanConcept cars seem largely more reliable than in previous years. We already have quite a number of valid runs than ever before. They seem, overall, more reliable and I think being on a professional race track with ample space, big turns for overtaking helped the students to achieve better results,” said Make the Future Live and Shell Eco Marathon global general manager Norman Koch.
The prototype event came to a close on May 2, with teams from Thailand, China and Singapore demonstrating the best energy efficiency with their respective prototype categories.
In the Mileage Challenge, RMUTP Racing (pic, above) from Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon in Thailand achieved an equivalent of 1,546.9 kilometres on a litre of Ethanol with their prototype car, the equivalent of driving from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Bangkok, Thailand.
“We are very happy to win. We did our best and we used our experience gathered over the three years of competing, but our number one rule is teamwork,” said Peerapon Booncheuy, team manager for RMUTP.
Other winners in the prototype competition included HuaQi-EV from China with a result of 501.6 km/kWh in the Battery Electric category and TP ECO FLASH from Singapore with a result of 403.3 km/m3 in the hydrogen category.
At the Drivers World Championship Qualifier, Nanyang E Drive from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore beat other top UrbanConcept cars.
“We are very happy as the win wasn’t expected. It was nerve-wracking as we were a close second for most of the race. Our secret was honestly just very good teamwork – the team, monitoring every aspect of the car, letting me know how much energy to use and where to use it. So it was a very well-coordinated effort and that to me was the key to our success” shared Colin Ioh, team driver for Nanyang E Drive
The top three teams from the Asia qualifier will face off against the best UrbanConcept teams from the Americas and Europe in the Drivers’ World Championship to be held at Make the Future Live in London, UK, on July 5, 2019. The ultimate winning team will be awarded an invitation to visit Scuderia Ferrari's headquarters in Italy.
“The Drivers’ World Championship incorporates both the fuel efficiency of the vehicle with the technique and skills of the driver. This time it is the strategy of handling the vehicles while simultaneously managing fuel efficiency. We saw amazing action and my congratulations goes to all the teams for all their achievements,” Koch said.