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Going the distance
Shell Eco-marathon Europe 2014 welcomed 198 teams from 27 counties across Europe and beyond between May 15-18. This year saw four new records in Rotterdam, along with technical innovations that hold promise for cars of the future.
At the Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, teams competed in two classes: Prototype, which focuses purely on energy efficiency, and UrbanConcept, which demands features to meet everyday driving needs. Teams also opted for one of six fuel types: petrol, diesel, battery electric, hydrogen and alternative fuels ethanol and GTL.
This was the third year on an urban track in Rotterdam – but for the first time cars had to reverse their driving route. Despite this new challenge, records were smashed.
Four new records
Consistent winners Team Microjoule from France lived up to expectations and improved on their 2013 performance by over 300 km to travel the equivalent of 3,314.9 km on a lite of petrol, more than enough to travel from Lisbon, Portugal, to Warsaw, Poland.
Three teams broke records in the UrbanConcept category. Favourites La Joliverie beat their own hydrogen fuel cell record – just – to travel 150.5 km/kWh. Another French team, Lycée Louis Delage, set a new standard with petrol, covering 468.8 km/l equivalent. And Team Schluckspecht from Germany beat its own record in the diesel category, clocking up 389.0 km/l equivalent.
“Dozens of teams have improved on their performance of last year,” said Norman Koch, Technical Director Shell Eco-marathon. “We’ve seen an incredible number of ingenious ideas.”
Many cars sported impressive technologies. Portuguese team AERO@UBI entered a car steered by the driver leaning his body to one side. Another team developed direct fuel injection into a small 35 cc engine for better efficiency.
Team proTRon from Germany powered their UrbanConcept car on battery electric with solar panels made from an advanced material used in satellites. Another German team, Hydro2Motion, built two antennae into their Prototype car. These wireless routers transmit details such as temperature, humidity and the wheel angle to a large monitor, allowing the team’s technicians to optimise the car’s performance.
Several teams used 3D printers to produce car parts, including Team Aalborg from Denmark.
As well as prizes given for the top distances, the event rewarded safety, design, communications, technical innovation and tribology (the use of lubrication engineering). An award was also given for students who displayed perseverance and the spirit of the event, this time going to Team SCB-MADI of Russia who drove 36 hours from Moscow and then had to fix a broken crankshaft on their car.
The Shell Energy Lab ran alongside the competition, welcoming over 40,000 visitors to explore interactive exhibits around the future of energy. On May 15 the Ahoy also hosted the Shell Powering Progress Together forum: hundreds of global experts and leaders united to discuss the growing pressure on energy, water and food, particularly in the world’s growing cities.