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Green takes to the streets when ultra energy-efficient cars race in Detroit during the Shell Eco-marathon Americas

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The future of urban transportation will be taken on by 129 teams of tomorrow’s citizenry… teenagers … at the 10th annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas.

This year it’s once again taking place on the streets of Detroit when1,200 high school and university students from the US, Canada, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the US will release their visions of custom-built, ultra-energy-efficient cars. The goal is to travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy.

The event will be held April 22-24 at Cobo Center. The cars will run on a track located on streets nearby.

The teams of young engineers work a year to put their vehicles together then battle it out in just a few days to see which one designed and built the most energy-efficient vehicle.

Last year more than 113 student teams from five different countries participated. The winning team from the University of Laval in Quebec, Canada, recorded a mileage equivalent of 3,421 miles per gallon. For highlights from that event please click here. You can also watch the video below.

The students can choose to take part in one or both of the Prototype (futuristic designed vehicles) and UrbanConcept (traditional designed concept vehicles) classes. The Prototype class focuses on maximum efficiency, while passenger comfort takes a back seat. The UrbanConcept class encourages more practical designs. The UrbanConcept teams will compete in seven categories – gasoline, diesel, ethanol, GTL, CNG, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell.

To better judge the kids’ success Shell Eco-Marathon technical experts can now remotely measure the liquid fuels within the student cars in real-time and transmit the fuel consumption to race control instantaneously. That will allow better measurement of the success of the concept cars.

The ability to read fuel efficiency and speed more immediately also helps name the winner faster. This breakthrough is especially helpful in light of the new contest feature that requires all the cars compete on the track at the same time.

“Our new technology is an exciting step in the evolution of Shell Eco-marathon and opens up many more possibilities for future competitions,” says Norman Koch, general manager of Shell Eco-marathon. “While still in its early days, we are exploring how this technology can be applied to Prototype vehicles, which have much smaller fuel flows compared to UrbanConcept cars.”

Those who take part in the UrbanConcept this year will have a bonus challenge. Up to eight of the top teams will get a sponsored trip to London to take part in the non-competitive Shell Eco-marathon Europe and later compete in the Drivers’ World Championship. In that race they will test their mettle against the best from Asia and Europe in London in a final race. The first-ever Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship will take place on July 3 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

“The Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship highlights two key concepts in the world of motorsports: energy efficiency and driver efficiency,” says Niel Golightly, vice president, external relations for Shell. “This marks the first time that students competing in this race will need to excel at both, adding another layer of challenge to push these future engineers and scientists to the brink of their imaginations.”

The Driver’s World Championship is much like a normal car race, but with the added imperative of an efficient ride. The team that wins will get a leg up for the next year’s competition as the members spend a week at with Scuderia Ferrari at its factory in Italy where the professional engineers will give the team advice as to improve their car.

The Shell Eco-Marathon has a 31-year history of encouraging and aiding students in the design of more fuel-efficient travel. This is the first time the 24 best from across the globe will come together to see just which team developed the best and most efficient car.

Shell Eco-marathon competitions is a global program that challenges future automotive engineers and scientists to push the limits of energy efficiency and find innovative solutions to the world’s mobility challenges. Student-built vehicles have achieved more than 3,500 miles per gallon in the Americas challenge. There are annual events in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

If you’re interested in the future of energy stop by Cobo April 22-24 and watch the competition. It’s free. Find out more about the Americas event at

For more information about all 2016 events across the globe, including additional details on vehicle class requirements, official rules and details on prizes, please visit the Shell Eco-marathon website at

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3 comments on “Green takes to the streets when ultra energy-efficient cars race in Detroit during the Shell Eco-marathon Americas

  1. One of these days, one of these kids is going to come up with an amazing eco-friendly solution and car manufacturers are going to be throwing checks and cash at this person so they can finance the development of an idea. Good job to those students!

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