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Future of the auto industry is in Detroit as eco-friendly vehicles race down our streets this weekend

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What better place than the Motor City for America’s youth to gather and work for the future of cars?  And what better place for these future engineers to find their careers?

In its 9th year, Shell Eco-marathon Americas has made the connection. Detroit is hosting the event and the more than 1,000 kids attending it from April 10-12. It’s the first time the marathon has been held in the auto industry capital.

Coming from across the Western Hemisphere, 120 teams from the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, and Brazil descend upon us to show off and compete with their year’s work.  That work is designing, building, and testing ultra-energy efficient cars that are capable of achieving hundreds, even thousands of miles per gallon.

untitled4These kids, our future engineers, including some from Detroit area schools, will race their eco-friendly creations through the streets of the Motor City this weekend. Last year the first place winner, Université Laval from Quebec, Canada, broke the Americas mileage record in 2013 with an astonishing 3,587 mpg.

The five Detroit area teams are from the University of Michigan, University of Detroit Jesuit High School, University of Detroit Mercy, Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School and Lawrence Tech.

Team Penske will provide on-site judging for vehicle entries for the off-track awards, as well as opportunities for behind-the-scenes tours at Team Penske offices.

“I’m pleased that Shell has committed to having this event in our city, which is terrific for Detroit and for Michigan,” said Bud Denker, Penske Corporation senior vice president. “We want these students to attend Michigan universities and to work for Michigan-based companies.”

It has not been a secret, especially here, that Detroit’s auto industry on the rise. The problem is, that means a lot of high-talent and STEM jobs will need to be filled.  Gathering together for a look at the industry’s possible future may not be a bad way to have people refocusing on Detroit … and those jobs.

“Shell Eco-marathon is an invaluable program, shaping the industry leaders who will drive future automotive innovation,” said Niel Golightly, Shell vice president external relations for the Americas. “Beyond hands-on design and engineering experience, the students practice teamwork and problem solving on the fly – all important for future success.”

untitledThis glimpse into possible tomorrows runs from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. all weekend at Cobo, and costs nothing.  There are daily prizes and hands-on activities. You can race mini-saltwater cars, make kinetic energy, take part in cool science activities or build an actual Model-T. There are even be ride-alongs for the Shell-Eco marathon UrbanConcept car on the test track.

Even the roof is busy as newly released vehicles from some of today’s top automakers are on display up top.

The preshow events start on Wednesday, April 8, with a Student Mobility Roundtable with student teams, shell, and manufacturing partners from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The rest of the schedule goes as follows:

Friday, April 10 from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

  • An opening ceremony featuring Mayor Mike Duggan and Shell executives from 9:30 – 10:00 a.m.
  • A student mile challenge throughout the day.
  • At 9:30 The Shell Experience, Innovation Track and Driving Experience opens.
  • Shell Subject Matter Experts have 15 min. mini-briefings beginning at 10:30 a.m.
    • A Lens Toward Future Mobility: Wolfgang Warnecke, Shell Chief Mobility Scientist
    • An Innovative Mobility Project: Selda Gunsel
    • Lubricants Made from Natural Gas: Selda Gunsel
    • Not all Fuels Are the Same
    • Commercializing Advanced Biofuels
    • Bringing a Hydrogen Future Closer to Today
    • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for Commercial Transport
    • Smarter Driving Session: With Fuel Efficiency World Record Holder, Wayne Gerdes, at Rooftop Driving Experience
  • The Rooftop Experience test drives run from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Ride-alongs in Local Motors 3D printed car run from 1 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • UrbanConcept car ride-alongs run from 2:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Saturday April 11, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

  • Student mileage challenge occurs throughout the day
  • The Shell Experience, Innovation Track and Driving Experience opens at 9:30 a.m.
  • Test drives on Rooftop Driving Experience run from 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Ride-alongs in Local Motors 3D printed car run from 1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
  • Ride-a-Longs in Shell Eco-marathon UrbanConcept Car on Shell Eco-marathon Americas road track run from 9:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

untitled 2Sunday, April 12 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

  • Student mileage challenge occurs throughout the day
  • Ride-alongs in Shell Eco-marathon UrbanConcept Car on Shell Eco-marathon Americas road track run from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Ride-alongs in Local Motors 3D printed car run from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Test drives on Rooftop Driving Experience open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Closing awards ceremony run from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

To make these festivities come true Shell partnered with hp, Linde, Michelin, Team Penske, The Henry Ford, Southwest Resource Inc., Quicken Loans, the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City of Detroit.

This weekend Detroit just may have the rare privilege to host its own future, and the doors are wide open for the public to see.

Free tickets for Shell Eco-marathon Americas are available at www.shellecomarathon.us. 

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