Thank you Rotterdam

French and Danish student teams stole the show at the 30thanniversary Shell Eco-marathon Europe in Rotterdam, Netherlands, setting three track records and beating two of the best results the competition has ever seen.

In total 197 teams comprising more than 3,000 students converged at the event from 26 countries, the fourth and last with the Dutch city as the host. The competition moves to London in 2016.

Students build cars using energy types ranging from petrol to battery electric power, aiming to travel the greatest distance on the energy equivalent of a single litre of fuel. They design cars with one of two broad categories in mind: Prototype, which focuses purely on energy efficiency, and UrbanConcept, where vehicles resemble road-going cars.

New horizons

French school team Microjoule-La Joliverie achieved the most fuel-efficient performance in a combustion engine category with their new Prototype car powered by CNG (compressed natural gas). They set a new benchmark with 2,551.8 km/litre equivalent – like driving from Rotterdam to Moscow on one litre.

In the coveted Prototype gasoline category, which long-standing winners Microjoule left behind this year, French competitors TED surprised themselves with a 2,308.3km/l win. (Microjoule’s all-time best still stands at 3,771km/l.)

Think back to 1985 when the very first winning car could have travelled 320km on the same amount of energy – the distance from Rotterdam to London.

New records

Three teams set new track records this year, two of them beating competition all-time best results.

French team Lycée Louis Delage drove 517.3km/l equivalent with their UrbanConcept gasoline car, topping the all-time best of 468.8 km/l they set in 2014. Danish team DTU Roadrunners made an astonishing comeback after fire damaged their UrbanConcept ethanol car, achieving 665km/l to smash the all-time best result they achieved in 2013. Team Iut Gmp Valenciennes from France set a track record of 1,323km/l in the Prototype diesel category.

Norman Koch, Shell Eco-marathon’s Global Technical Director, said, “This was a remarkable year. We  saw particular improvement in the UrbanConcept category.”

Ireland were this year’s newcomers, with a team from National University of Galway. They brought their Prototype battery electric car “The Geec” through the tough technical inspection in just two attempts. “We didn’t expect the standard to be so high,” said driver Maryrose McLoone.

See all the Shell Eco-marathon Europe results

Off-track awards

Shell Eco-marathon is about much more than winning on the track. Teams were also recognised for their efforts off the track. Prizes are presented in categories including excellence in vehicle design, communications, safety and technical innovation. 

A special award is presented to the team displaying the greatest perseverance and spirit. Team Toulouse Ingénierie Multidisciplinaire (TIM) won this award for helping other teams – including their main competitor DTU Roadrunners from Denmark – and hard work to resolve problems with their own car. Team member Nicholas Gaiqui said, “They know they can count on us, and we know we can count on them.” TIM unfortunately failed to achieve a valid run.

Read about all the off-track winner