Pass or Fail
As the Manila heat climbed towards a sunny 32°C, students began the first official day carefully unboxing and reassembling their cars from crates before rolling them into the strict technical inspection area with its focus on safety and fairness. But who’ll get to go on track?
All about the tech
Today the 127 teams now onsite – marking the best Shell Eco-marathon Asia turnout ever - must begin to run the gauntlet of technical inspection. Before they are allowed on the track to compete, they must move through seven separate stations with many as 15 exacting tests, as dozens of visitors look on.
All aspects of cars are given a “pass” or “fail”, from a maximum turning radius of 8 m for Prototypes or 6 m for UrbanConcept cars – crucial for getting around corners and overtaking rivals – to visibility through the windscreen. One fail means a return to the paddock to make crucial changes, then re-joining the queue to try again.
“The biggest challenge for teams are the seatbelts and brakes because we’re so focused on safety and protecting the driver,” said Technical team member Adrian Juergens.
Safety harnesses must be fixed in five places and hold at least 1.5 times the weight of the driver. Two braking systems – one at the front, one at the rear – must each be able to hold the car steady on the test station ramp.
After months working on their cars, teams at Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2015 have to put all their efforts to pass strict technical inspection tests. Only after completing the tests, the cars are allowed to hit the track in Manila
Title: All about the tech!
Duration: 1:38 minutes
Description: Various people talking about safety and the technical inspection of vehicles.
Futuristic sound effects.
Text displayed on mustard yellow background below small Shell logo.
ALL ABOUT THE TECH
Sped-up footage of people moving around long corridor at event.
GLOBAL TECHNICAL TEAM
“We’re here in the technical inspection area of the Shell Eco-Marathon. So here we look at the aspects of the cars, make sure that they technically comply with the regulations, making sure that the vehicle is safe for the drivers to be out on the track in”.
Person sitting in car/buggy with helmet on, another person checking straps.
Close-up of wheel being checked thoroughly.
Team of people checking wires on car.
Close-up of man checking wiring.
People pushing the car.
UNIVERSITY OF MALAYA
“They mentioned just now that we are the first team doing the technical inspection. We have a confidence of 80%, hopefully this year we can make it”.
Team pushing the car/buggy.
Person in car being pushed, inspectors watching it.
“One of the stages is the car dimensions. In the regulations you have a maximum length of the car, the maximum track of the car, the height of the car to make sure it’s all safe to be on the track”.
Sped-up footage of a team going through inspection.
Car being pushed onto large scales.
Car on a mat with a grid draw on and beneath an arch with, “Car Dimensions” written on it.
Car being measured.
Car sitting in Dimensions arch.
Width of the car being measured.
Panning around the car. Car gets wheeled out of inspection area.
Woman sitting in car.
“So the safety belts, we have to make sure that the driver is safe in the car. He has to use a five-point racing style safety harness. So we actually lift the car, or lift the weight of the driver and the car, on the safety belt to make sure it’s secure and safe for him to be out in”.
Team checking the belt on car.
Two people checking the strength of the belt.
Person in driving seat holding arms up.
Belt still being checked.
“Another important aspect is the brakes. The car is placed on the ramp, the driver then proves to us that each brake – we have two braking systems, front and the rear – each one of those systems can hold the car on the ramp”.
Team lifting the car onto ramp.
Car on a ramp.
Wheel with close-up on brake being engaged.
Person in car on ramp.
“The exit time test is to make sure the driver can escape the car in an emergency within 10 seconds”.
Inspector counting down: one, two, three, go.
Driver getting out of car quickly. Climbs out and stands next to car.
Inspector gives her a thumbs-up.
“I’m sure the Malaysian team we saw first thing this morning will be on the track this afternoon. They were early through their technical inspection process so I’m sure they’ll be out there soon”.
Malaysian team pushing their car out of inspection area.
“Yes, I’m very sure that today everything will be on track. No worry about that.”
Sped-up footage of inspection area.
Musical riff plays.
Copyright Shell International Limited 2015
First into the technical inspection is team Eco-Voyager from the University of Malaya with their battery electric Prototype car “Evora”, powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Last year they left the competition when part of the car fell off on-track.
Lying patiently inside the canoe-shaped, enclosed car is driver and mechanical engineering student Nadia Ahmad Hassan. Evora fails the seatbelt test because the buckle is wrongly attached. Only a minor change is needed, like most here today.
So far nobody has passed technical inspection.
The first UrbanConcept car into technical inspection is Symmetry 3.0 from local team TIP Mileage Proto of the Technological Institute of the Philippines. Engineering student Elvin Paul Barrameda explained that the team cut out and replaced sections of the car body to create wheel arches at the rear to satisfy a new rule this year. Symmetry 3.0 also failed on its seatbelt test, which had to be re-attached below shoulder height.
Teams get together for the traditional team photo at Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2015. (Mike Alquinto/AP Images for Shell)
Waiting time ahead of the official team photo at Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2015. (Geric Cruz/AP Images for Shell)
A student runs some test in the paddock during day one of Shell Eco-marathon Asia in Manila, Philippines. (Geric Cruz/AP Images for Shell)
Diver of the Hyper Herformance Prototype, by team WithOut Limits from Higher Colleges of Technology - Ruwais (RUC), UAE. (Mark Cristino/AP Images for Shell)
Visitors engage with the salt water cars in Manila. (Mike Alquinto/AP Images for Shell)
Visitors engage with salt water cars in Manila. (Mike Alquinto/AP Images for Shell)
The Rinekamaya by team Japati K21 U-Line from Politeknik Manufaktur Negeri Bandung, Indonesia at Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2015. (Geric Cruz/AP Images for Shell)
The Evora Prototype car by team Eco-Voyager from University of Malaya, Malaysia goes through Tech Inspection. (Geric Cruz/AP Images for Shell)
Cars are lined up at the starting line during day one of Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2015 in Manila, Philippines. (Mark Cristino/AP Images for Shell)
The Cleopatra, #314, Prototype, competing for Alexandria University during day one of Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2015 (Mike Alquinto/AP Images for Shell)
Good design needs time
Ilmi Wahab, team lead of the NTU Diesel Car Racing Team from Singapore describes the team’s futuristic-looking car, which contains 3D printed parts, as a cross between a sports car and a golf cart.
“I think we stand a good chance of winning the design award,” he said. “We’d rather be slow and steady as we get the car ready. We don’t want to keep going back and forth to the inspection stations.”
“The designs are more imaginative and professional-looking compared to previous years,” said Shell Eco-marathon Director Norman Koch.
In search of foam
Also yet to undergo inspection is Team Abhijatrik from Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology in Bangladesh – a new country joining this year. They have just a wooden board for their UrbanConcept car’s seat and no suspension.
Team leader and driver KM Hasan Imam Shuvo would have absorbed all the vibrations from the track, but was more concerned about making the fibreglass and mild steel car too heavy. For his own wellbeing, he was told to wrap the board in foam. “We can fix this. No problem,” he said.
Off the track
While the students were queuing up for the technical inspections for their cars, visitors enjoyed exhibits and games, and experts and business leaders gathered in the nearby Manila Hotel for the Powering Progress Together forum. This year’s forum focused on how cities can become more resilient in the face of rapid growth and resource strains – a major concern in Asia.
The event featured interactive presentations, interviews and extensive panel discussions with speakers ranging from British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad, Shell’s country chairman for the Philippines, Edgar Chua, to Ms Saya Kitasei from international environmental advisory firm Xyntéo.