Ultra Energy Efficient Vehicle Competition Comes to Detroit for First Time


More than 1,000 high school and university students will hit the streets of downtown Detroit in April with ultra-energy-efficient vehicles they have designed and built to compete in the ninth annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas.

More than 70 teams from Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States have registered to compete in the event, which will be held April 9-12. The teams are designing and building cars capable of achieving as much as 3,000 mpg that run on a range of energies including hydrogen, electricity, gasoline, diesel, biofuels, fuel made from natural gas or, new for 2015, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

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

As part of the competition, teams will start at Cobo Center and drive 0.9 miles on a designated route throughout the city.

The car that uses the least amount of energy will win. Student-built prototype vehicles have achieved more than 3,500 miles per gallon in preview challenges, say event officials.

“Encouraging these young engineers to look at opportunities to be more environmentally-sound and more energy-efficient can bring industry benefits to Michigan and the nation,” said Gov. Rick Snyder at the Shell Innovation Track during Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in January.

Earlier this year, Shell and Team Penske, a racing team and division of the Bloomfield Township-based Penske Corp., announced a three-year technical support program that will help all of the student teams. As part of the program, Team Penske will provide online videoconference support, on-site judging for off-track awards, and tours of 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,” says Bud Denker, senior vice president of Penske. “We want these students to attend Michigan universities and to work for Michigan-based companies.”

The public is invited to watch the street competition. For more information, click here.

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