World Champions

An Indonesian team triumphed in the grand finale of the first Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship (DWC). It was a hard-fought race around a course in east London that challenged many teams.

The battery-electric car from Bandung beat UrbanConcept category cars from around the world to take the first DWC chequered flag.

“We’re happy and proud to have taken part in and won this prestigious championship,” said Amin Sobirim, a member of team BUMI Siliwangi. They won a well-deserved technology training week in Italy with the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 team.

French students ISEN Toulon/SCS took second place in the big race, adding to their table-topping energy efficiency performance in the battery-electric UrbanConcept class. Alden-Conger High School from the USA came third with their diesel-sipping motor.

More than 200 student squads from 29 countries around the world gathered at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to see who could navigate the 2.2-km track with the least amount of fuel.

The teams design and build cars that use a variety of energy types, ranging from gasoline and natural gas to electric batteries and hydrogen. The designs fall into two broad categories: Prototype, which focuses entirely on driving as far as possible using the least energy, and UrbanConcept, where energy efficiency is important but the vehicles look more like normal city cars.

Tricky Track

London’s long bridge section proved insurmountable for some lower-powered cars and prevented others from breaking records. But students tweaked their tactics and cars as best they could to gain an advantage over their friendly rivals.

“The 2016 track has been particularly challenging for all teams,” said Norman Koch, Global Technical Director for Shell Eco-marathon. “We have seen an incredibly high standard of performance, as well as the determination and team spirit of champions.”

The tricky track didn’t stop dominant force Microjoule-La Joliverie of France breaking another record. They squeezed a class-topping 2,606.4 km/litre equivalent from their new compressed natural gas car, making it the most efficient combustion engine in London’s Prototype challenge. 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 2,300.1 km/l equivalent for their gasoline car. Microjoule’s gasoline record of 3,771 km/litre, set in 2010, remains unchallenged. French team Lycee Louis Delage’s gasoline car was also the clear winner in the UrbanConcept category, with 445.7 km/l equivalent.

Spain’s ECO-DIMONI won the battery-electric category with 747.2 km per kilowatt hour, while compatriots Equip UMH triumphed in alternative fuel with their ethanol car’s 1,555.9 km/l equivalent. Italy’s H2politO won the hydrogen class with 737.0 km per cubic metre.

Off-track awards

Shell Eco-marathon is not just about winning on the track -- teams are also recognised for their innovative technology, design and perseverance.

H2politO’s car scooped the Prototype Design Award, while Norway’s OUC Shell Eco team claimed the UrbanConcept design prize. Prometheus from Greece won the Technical Innovation Award with their car’s near-autonomous advanced driving control system.

Many teams had tales of trouble to tell.

OUC’s door flew off as they sped around the track in testing, while other teams suffered bursting hydraulic brakes or found their fuel-cells lacked the power needed to drive over the bridge. 

But there was no doubt that Ukraine’s LSA Khadi AIS deserved the Perseverance and Spirit of the Event trophy. Some of their team were blighted by visa problems as they tried to make their way overland across Europe. The team members that did make it to London then had to replace a broken part. But they still managed to pass technical inspection.

Pelé kick off

Football legend Pelé kicked off the four-day Make the Future London festival of innovation as thousands of schoolchildren mingled with student mechanics making final tweaks and last-minute repairs.

As many as 8,000 schoolchildren visited the Make the Future London festival on one day, where they tried out scientific games and demonstrations before checking out the older students’ ultra-energy-efficient cars. Overall, more than 30,000 guests of all ages attended the events.

Make the Future Live is a four-day festival of ideas and innovation offering curious minds of all ages a glimpse into the global energy future, featuring live science shows and amazing inventions and cars of the future.

Meanwhile, in the Olympic Stadium, Shell Powering Progress Together forum brought together innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists and economists to debate ways to help the transition towards a lower-carbon society.

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