Shell Eco-marathon switches from Sepang racetrack to Manila streets in its 2014 staging


    Cars built by students coming from across Asia line up at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila for the start of the 2014 Shell Eco-marathon Asia, a contest that seeks to cultivate a mindset of energy conservation. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

    THE goal is smarter mobility, and so 109 teams coming from 15 countries competed in the recent edition of Shell Eco-marathon (SEM) Asia, a contest in which students vie to build the most fuel-efficient car, then run this against the others.

    Shell said the students, coming from Asia and the Middle East, showcased their talents in creating the vehicles, which are designed to go the farthest on one liter of fuel.

    The 2014 SEM Asia was held on a makeshift street circuit around the Quirino Grandstand in Manila—the first time the event was held on public roads. The first four editions of the smarter mobility competition were held at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

    Shell Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said that the company is surprised to see how SEM participants have developed in terms of creating vehicles that are built for energy conservation.

    “Every year the students amaze the judges with their passion, creativity and ingenuity as they push the boundaries of fuel efficiency and energy conservation. These teams represent the next generation of leaders, designers and engineers, and their commitment to finding sustainable solutions makes me confident we can together tackle the ongoing mobility and energy challenges,” Henry said.

    The Philippines had the third most number of teams in the 2014 SEM Asia with 15 while Indonesia had the most with 18. Malaysia fielded 16 teams.

    Fuel misers
    The teams from Indonesia and Thailand ruled this year’s SEM Asia.
    Indonesia holds four titles in the competition while Thailand has three.

    Thailand’s Team How Much Ethanol from Panjavidhya Technological College set the record for the highest mileage, driving 2,730 kilometers on a single liter of ethanol. The distance is equivalent to a trip from Manila to Jakarta, Indonesia.

    The Sakon Nakhon Technical College won in the Prototype Gasoline category and Rattanakosin Technological College took the Prototype Battery Electric category. Both teams came from Thailand.

    Thailand has dominated the leader boards since the event was first held in 2010.

    Chumphol Sitthios, team manager for Panjavidhya Technological College, said that their formula was mainly to focus on car design and pay little attention to the engine.

    “Our winning formula was to focus 97 percent of our efforts on designing the car and 3 percent on the engine. Our car was custom-designed around our designated driver for optimal performance and we built the engine to maximize the capacity of our car,” Sitthios said.

    “We also practiced on a Thailand circuit that has a similar layout to Luneta Park,” he added.

    Urban concept cars were the specialty of the Indonesian student teams as Universitas Indonesia won the Urban Concept Gasoline, University of Sumatera Utara the Urban Concept Ethanol, Politeknik Negeri Pontianak the Urban Concept Diesel and Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember the Urban Concept Fame.

    The latest win for the Universitas Indonesia is its second consecutive in the Urban Concept Gasoline category, after setting its new best performance of 301.7 kilometers to a liter—almost double the team’s previous result.

    With the new urban setting that’s designed to test the boundaries of fuel efficiency in a real-world environment, the participants posted better mileage results in five out of the 12 categories compared to the previous edition that was held in Sepang.

    For Prototype Diesel, China’s Tongji University reached 616.2 kilometers on a liter of fuel; Sakon Nakhon Technical College traveled 1,796 kilometers in Prototype Gasoline; Institute of Technical Education Singapore logged 126.3 kilometers in Urban Concept Battery Electric; and Indonesia’s Politeknik Negeri Pontianak rolled 70.3 kilometers in Urban Concept Diesel.

    SEM Technical Director Norman Koch explained that a street circuit “certainly presents more difficulty as vehicles tend to consume more energy while navigating urban roads.”

    “The fact that teams are still making marked improvements on their scores and clocking new personal bests is extremely impressive,” he said.

    Winners all
    Besides the 12 awards given to teams that performed best on the track, six “off-track” awards went to teams that showed technical and creative skills, as well as approach to safety and sustainability.

    Teams MIT Eco-Warriors of the Madras Institute of Technology India and DLSU Eco Car Team – Electric from the De La Salle University jointly received the “Perseverance and Spirit of the Event” citation. The award was given after the DLSU team lent their 2011 vehicle entry and assisted the India team in securing vehicle parts in Manila when the latter learned that its vehicles would not arrive in Manila in time for the competition.


    Shell’s fuel-eco event, now on its fifth staging, for the first time rolls on city roads. Below is Thailand’s Team How Much Ethanol from Panjavidhya Technological College , which logged an astounding 2,730 kilometers on a liter of ethanol.

    Flying the Philippine flag
    The DLSU Eco-Car Team – Electric ranked second in the Urban Concept – Battery Electric Category with a consumption rating of 66.38 kilometers per kilowatt-hour. The TIP Mileage Team from the Technological Institute of the Philippines – Manila, who had joined the 2012 SEM, placed third in the Urban Concept – Diesel Category with fuel consumption of 47.44 kilometers to a liter.

    sem-02In 2012, the TIP Mileage team placed second in the Prototype – Diesel Category.

    Jerelyn Notario, team manager for the TIP team, said that they are thrilled to bring pride to both school and country despite being new entrants in the Urban Concept -Diesel division.


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