The 10th Shell Eco-marathon Americas ended on Sunday April 24 under warm blue skies with two perennial favourites battling along the Motor City’s riverfront and downtown streets to see which custom-built, ultra-energy-efficient vehicle would travel the greatest distance using the least amount of energy.

More than1,000 students from a record 124 teams representing seven countries – Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States – competed over three days with energy-efficient vehicles they designed and built themselves. On Saturday and Sunday, the vehicles drove 10 laps for a total distance of six miles (almost 10 kilometres) around the circuit.

Students competed with two categories of vehicles. The Prototype category invites students to enter futuristic, streamlined vehicles, while the UrbanConcept category focuses on “roadworthy” fuel-efficient vehicles aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers. Teams power their cars on fuels that range from hydrogen, compressed natural gas [D1] and battery power to traditional gasoline and alternatives such as ethanol.

While it can be fierce, the competition also sparks much co-operation among the teams.