London fuel-efficiency drive heats up
Make the Future Live, featuring Shell Eco-marathon Europe, welcomed more than 25,000 guests to a festival of innovation and friendly competition in London from May 25-28.
After several days of sunny skies and strong competition, the famously fickle English weather brought an abrupt end to the final of the Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship (DWC).
Thousands of visitors to Make the Future Live had enjoyed unusually hot and sunny weather for most of the four-day event. But the grand final had to be abandoned mid-race as rain hammered down on the track in east London. With the wet weather making it unsafe to finish the race, a US high-school team from the Saint Thomas Academy in Minnesota was declared the winner because it was the fastest in qualifying.
“We couldn’t have even dreamed that we would end up winning the entire competition,” said Patrick Gaylord, driver of Saint Thomas Academy’s battery-electric car. “There were so many great teams.”
Hot weather also played a role in determining the fuel-efficiency results earlier in the competition, before the clouds gathered ominously over London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park late on the last day.
More than 170 student teams from 29 countries gathered in London to see who could navigate the 1.6-km track with the least fuel. But some struggled to adapt their cars to the hot and sunny conditions that dominated most of the competition.
Shell Eco-marathon is split into two broad design categories. The Prototype class focuses on maximum efficiency. Energy efficiency is also important for the UrbanConcept category, but this class encourages more practical car-like designs. Over the course of the competition, teams make several attempts to travel the furthest on the equivalent of one litre of fuel or one kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity.
Dominant French force Microjoule-La Joliverie won the Prototype category again, achieving 2,503.9 km/litre equivalent with their compressed natural gas car this year. But it fell short of their winning attempt of 2,606.4 km/l during last year’s event. That’s the same as driving from London to Milan and back on less than a litre of fuel.
French domination of the energy-efficiency competition was reinforced by TED team from Toulouse, which came second in the Prototype challenge with 2,137.6 km/l equivalent for their gasoline car. TED managed 2,300.1 km/l in their gasoline car last year. Microjoule’s gasoline record of 3,771 km/l, set in 2010, remains unchallenged.
Italy’s Team Zero C won the battery-electric Prototype category with 753.2 km/kWh, while Germany’s ThaiGer-H2-Racing Straslund won the hydrogen class with 880.5 km per cubic metre.
Team Toulouse Ingénierie Multidisciplinaire also beat the heat to set a new world record for the UrbanConcept Internal Combustion Engine category. The team from France achieved 684.7 km/l, beating the previous category record set in 2015 by 20 km/l.
Make the Future Live 2017
Norman Koch, Manager of the Shell Eco-marathon, drops the starting flag during the Drivers' World Championship
The driver for Green Team Twente from The Netherlands in their hydrogen UrbanConcept vehicle
The driver of The La joliverie Polytech Nantes, race #601, a hydrogen UrbanConcept vehicle is seen on the track after winning first place in the European Drivers World Championship
Crowds cheer for pop star Alesha Dixon in the experience during day two of Shell Make the Future Live
The WIM 2, race #29, a gasoline Prototype vehicle competing for team High-Efficiency-Karlsruhe from Germany on the track
A participant take part in festival activities during day two of Shell Make the Future Live
Visitors in the experience on the final day of Shell Make the Future Live
A driver rides their vehicle on track during day two of Shell Make the Future Live
The EVA, race #715, a battery electric UrbanConcept vehicle competing for Team EVA from the Netherlands on the track during day two of Shell Make the Future Live
Shell Eco-marathon teams are also recognised for their innovative technology, design and perseverance.
Team Poseidon from Greece won the Prototype Design Award, while Microjoule-La Joliverie won the Technical Innovation Award and UGATU Racing Team from Russia won for their perseverance.
The four-day Make the Future Live festival saw thousands of schoolchildren try science games and demonstrations on everything from hydrogen fuel cells and combustion engines to power-producing kites and electric cars. They also watched hundreds of student engineers preparing their energy-efficient cars for the competition. Overall, more than 25,000 guests of all ages attended the events.