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Asia’s bright young engineers coach celebrities on fuel-efficient driving
With little over a week to go until competition kick-off, student teams from across Asia are putting the finishing touching to their ultra-energy-efficient cars. But to win Shell Eco-marathon they will not only need streamlined, lightweight vehicles – clever driving techniques are vital. Celebrities taking part in Shell FuelSave driving challenges in four countries visited students to swap tips.
The Philippines is preparing to host a unique energy-efficient competition for the first time. Thousands of students will soon gather in Manila for Shell Eco-marathon Asia, competing to drive the furthest on the least energy. Ahead of the event, Bianca Gonzalez, a model and actress, drove across the country meeting Filipino students along the way to share fuel-saving tips. At De La Salle University, for example, students are using lightweight materials for the car body and stripping out any unnecessary parts.
Over in Malaysia, actress and TV presenter Lisa Surihani met with students from Monash University Malaysia, the German-Malaysian Institute and University Tunku Abdul Rahman. Like Lisa, they are all honing their driving strategy to make the most of every drop of fuel.
Thailand holds the record
English-Thai actor and singer Alex Rendell took the wheel in Thailand, meeting students from four of the 11 participating Thai universities over his two-day challenge. “The student cars are incredibly aerodynamic,” said Alex.
Many entries into the Prototype category are capsule-shaped vehicles that lie low to the ground. But everyday drivers can also help improve their fuel-efficiency by taking out unnecessary bulk, such as removing their roof racks.
The current competition record-holders are Team from Luk Jao Mae Khlong Prapa from Thailand. They achieved the equivalent of nearly 3,000 km on a single litre of fuel. But Alex still did well in his Toyota Vios, with an average fuel-efficiency of 18.98km/l far surpassing the manufacturer’s fuel consumption rating of 11.5km/litre and topping the celebrity group.
Preparing for Manila
In Singapore, celebrity DJs and real-life couple Glenn Ong and Jean Danker took part in a special behind-the-scenes tour of student workshops before their challenge, meeting with teams from NTU and ITE. Students from the iTerbo team from ITE advised Glenn and Jean to drive at a constant speed and avoiding harsh acceleration – a technique they will be using on the streets of Manila.
The four celebrities will meet for the first time at Shell Eco-marathon Asia on February 7, where they will compete in ultra-energy-efficient vehicles built by students.
Shell Eco-marathon aims to inspire the next generation of engineers to meet future energy needs. For today’s drivers, the Shell FuelSave Celebrity Driving Challenges show everyday drivers how small changes can improve fuel efficiency.