Indians gear up for Shell Eco-marathon

Written by Abhishek Chakraborty | Updated: Feb 3 2014, 18:29pm hrs
Marathon14 student from India will put their cars to test at the Shell Eco-marathon Asia in Manila from Feb 6-9. AP
With over 140 student teams from 16 countries across Asia and the Middle East preparing to hit the streets of Manila, the Philippines, the fifth annual Shell Eco-marathon Asia is eyeing a record number of participating teams this year. As it moves for the first time from the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to Luneta Park in Manila, the historic Luneta Park will be transformed into a track where student teams will put cars to test and see which car can travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy.

The Shell Eco-marathon Asia will take place from February 6-9 in Manila. Representing India are 14 student teams from the countrys 12 top universities. The teams have began designing and building their energy-efficient vehicle since last year, but who can drive farthest consuming lowest fuel will come out as the winner.

Viswakumar Menon, country head of communications, Shell Group of Companies, India, says, We have 140 teams participating this yearalmost double the number of teams when SEM Asia started in 2010. In India, we have seen the numbers rise since 2011 when we first participated in the challenge. With nine student teams participating in 2011, the numbers have grown to 11 teams in 2012 and 14-15 each in the last two years.

The team from Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women, which is taking part in the event, is named Resonance. Team captain Ishita Sehgal says, We believe that different individuals have different frequencies. To work as a team, we had to match these individual frequencies, hence the name resonance. They have designed a gasoline prototype concept, and the special feature of the design is that they have used a bamboo chassis in their car.

Gautam Buddha University, Delhi, has named its team Unfrozen Hawks, and they have designed a hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle. Team captain Sachin Mishra says, The design is aerodynamic with unique scissor doors, and a half-streamlined body. The vehicle is designed with a unique steering mechanism to provide ample space in cockpit. By using alternate fuel (hydrogen) they hope to provide a solution to the worlds energy challenge specific to road transportation.

The Delhi Technological University team is named DTU Supermileage, an acronym for the university and a vehicle giving super mileage. Team captain Chitrarth Lav says, The biggest challenge faced by us so far is financial assistance from the industry. There are very few takers for projects such as these in India, since they feel it is not a good investment. What they dont realise is that without their backing, innovative projects will not be able to see the light of the day.

Shell Eco-marathon Asia is part of a unique four-day festival which is accessible for everyone, free of charge. The event marks many firsts for Shell Eco-marathon Asiathe first urban track and the first time the public Energy Lab will be brought to Asia. During these four days, students, residents from Manila, the Philippines, and guests from other countries can participate in the future of energy and mobility and experience Shell innovation as well as that of our partners.

Manav Rachna International University students have come up with a urban concept diesel vehicle MRV2 for this tournament. The car is powered by a diesel engine coupled with CVT system, which gives an efficient drive. Safety has also been a key focus area for the students while designing the car. We have added parking sensor, fire/smoke sensor, ABS and a new, safer roll cage. We have used diesel as the source of energy since it is still a preferred fuel option for consumers in India due to higher efficiency and lower cost, says team manager Aman Agha.

In its current form, Shell Eco-marathon Europe began in 1985 in France. The first Shell Eco-marathon Americas event was held at the California Speedway in 2007. Shell Eco-marathon Asia first took place in Kuala Lumpur in 2010, where it remained till 2013. It is one of the worlds most innovative and challenging student competitions held annually in Asia, the Americas and Europe, adds Menon.