• Quest for excellence powers Pinoy eco-marathon teams

    The UST contingent to the Shell Eco-marathon  shows off their challenger for the 2015 leg

    The UST contingent to the Shell Eco-marathon shows off their challenger for the 2015 leg

    From the highly successful staging of Shell Eco-marathon Asia in Manila last year, the Filipino contingent of student teams from various engineering colleges and universities are already gearing up for more achievements in this year’s run which will be hosted by the country this February.

    Shell’s annual competition that encourages young engineers from all over the world in creating and running fuel-efficient vehicles of the future, has definitely inspired young Filipino engineers to support this advocacy toward sustainable mobility, leading to a record number of 34 teams from 25 schools across the country. 16 of the 34 entries are first-time entrants.

    Serving as an example to these neophyte Filipino teams are some of the pioneer, award-winning schools in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia, including the De La Salle University (DLSU).

    “We always put our 100 percent in this competition,” says Carlo de Guzman, a member of the DLSU Eco Car Team that co-won the “Perseverance and Spirit of the Event” off-track award in the landmark Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2014.

    DLSU shares the award with the Team MIT Eco-Warriors of the Madras Institute of Technology from India, after an interesting incident during the race that displayed camaraderie despite the serious competition among the students. It also illustrated that DLSU’s determination and drive to excel applies not only to their own school, but even in helping other teams, achieve theirs.

    Doing warm-up laps inside the UST campus

    Doing warm-up laps inside the UST campus

    “When the Indian team’s prototype car was held at the customs office in Singapore, the team did not hesitate to lend their prototype car, DLSU 100,” recalled De Guzman. The vehicle was DLSU’s entry back in Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2011. The DLSU team also assisted their Indian counterparts in securing vehicle parts in Manila, enabling them to produce a new vehicle entry in just two days.

    The special award served as an icing on the cake, so to speak, to DLSU’s second-place finish in the Urban Concept–Battery Electric Category of the competition courtesy of their car Archer, which registered a mileage of 66.4 kilometers per kilowatt-hour.

    “We spent overnights at school working on the car. Even on holidays and weekends, we dedicated our free time on fabricating it,” De Guzman added.

    To provide convenience to the driver and aid in achieving the best fuel efficiency, the team installed an Android application on the car which gathered data on speed, throttle, power consumption, battery voltage and current acquired from the electrical system for the driver’s reference. At the same time, the Archer was also equipped with a telemetry system and custom-made battery management system. The same electronic features won for DLSU the Technical Innovation Award in Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2012 held in Malaysia.

    Another high-achieving, pioneer Filipino school participant in Shell Eco-marathon Asia is the Mapua Institute of Technology, one of the premier engineering academic institutions in the country. “Ever since Mapua’s team bagged the Safety Award in Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2010, we have always aimed for recognition,” said Jim Robert Guibani, team manager and chief mechanic of the school’s Team Cardinals.

    As such, Mapua’s Team Amihan in Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2011 won second place in the Safety Award.

    While the current Team Cardinals did not win any award last year, its car dubbed Aguila placed fifth in the on-track competition, registering a mileage of 158.6 kms per liter. Guibani still considers maintaining such level of consistency and performance as a valuable accomplishment for the team.

    Among other innovations, Team Cardinals also used indigenous rattan components in constructing the Aguila car, not just to make it look unique and distinctive but also to demonstrate the possibilities of ecological-mechanical integration. The use of rattan helped increased the vehicle’s rigidity while at the same time minimizing weight, thus contributing to fuel efficiency, Guibani explained.

    Indeed, young Filipino engineers are well on their way to achieving more and more success in Shell Eco-marathon Asia—with their one-of-a-kind and truly ingenious car creations blazing trails in the racetrack of smarter mobility.

    The public can witness these Filipino inventions, as well as entries from 19 other countries across the region at the Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2015. The event will take place in a specially constructed racetrack in Rizal Park in Manila from February 25 to March 1.


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