The Shell Eco-marathon Asia, held for the first time in Singapore, saw around 22,000 people gather at the Changi Exhibition Centre, where students set a series of fuel-efficiency records.

The event, which took place from March 16-19, is part of a global competition challenging students to push the boundaries of energy efficiency.

In the Prototype category, drivers squeezed into low-slung cars, lying on their backs to steer around the 1.19 km custom-built track that overlooked the South China Sea. In the UrbanConcept category, cars had more conventional designs.

In total, 123 teams competed from across the Asia-Pacific region. The competition culminated in the inaugural Drivers’ World Championship Asia – a specific contest to crown Asia’s most energy-efficient driver in the UrbanConcept category.

That was won by De La Salle University (DLSU) from the Philippines, who beat five other Asia-Pacific teams. They were followed by two Indonesian teams: Bengawan Team 2 from Sebelas Maret University, Surakarta, Central Java and ITS Team 2 from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember in Surabaya, East Java.

All three will fly to London in May for the Drivers’ World Championship Grand Final where they will compete with teams from Europe and the Americas.

“I can’t believe it. None of us can,” DLSU driver Carlo Miguel Flores, 19, said. “This is just such an amazing achievement for all of us and we’ve worked so hard to get here.”

Students from the University of Canterbury – the first team from New Zealand – competed with an electric vehicle. In the Prototype competition, Team Virgin from Sakonnakhon Technical College in Thailand beat a 2016 record with their result of 2,288 kilometres per litre. 

Team Sadewa from Indonesia and Team LH-EST from Vietnam won in the UrbanConcept competition, setting new records in their respective categories. 

Victory off the track

Five off-track awards awarded teams for their outstanding approaches to safety, vehicle design and technical innovation.

Team Panthera, an all-female team from India’s Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women, won the “perseverance and spirit of the event” award for overcoming gender bias and building their vehicle while simultaneously convincing their university to support their participation.

ASU Racing Team from Egypt’s Ain Shams University in Cairo won the Safety award for doing a roll-over test to check the safety of the car.

PNEC-NUST from the National University of Science and Technology in Karachi, Pakistan, took home the “communications award” for an innovative campaign that involved poetry-writing.

The Girton Grammar School from Australia won the “technical innovation” award for designing a device that converts excess chemical energy in a vehicle’s exhaust heat into electricity.

For creating a fully recyclable car made largely from plastic, Team EnduroKiwis from New Zealand won the “vehicle design (UrbanConcept)” award.

The “vehicle design (Prototype)” award was won by Team Zeal Eco-Power Proto from Tongji University in Shanghai, China, for their vehicle’s streamlined design.

The Drivers’ World Championship – full results

First place: DLSU Eco Car Team – I.C.E. from De La Salle University, Philippines

Second place: Bengawan Team 2 from Sebelas Maret University, Indonesia

Third place: ITS Team 2 from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, Indonesia

Shell Eco-marathon Asia was part of the first-ever Make the Future Singapore festival. The four-day public event showcased ideas for addressing the global challenge of generating more energy while producing less carbon dioxide (CO2).

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For Asia participants

If you’re a participant or want to join Shell Eco-marathon Asia, see all you need to know about the competition.