When energy efficiency and fuel economy come to mind, big oil is not always the first image that pops up. However, Shell Oil has been supporting the Eco-Marathon, a competition for “high school and college student teams from around the world to design, build and test energy efficient vehicles.” The current record is held by a French group, Polytech’ Nantes, which has achieved 4,896.1 km/l (11,516.34 mpg) equivalent at the 2010 Shell Eco-marathon Europe EuroSpeedway Lausitz.
What’s most amazing about the Eco-marathon is its duration. While many challenges have popped up in the past few years, the Shell Eco-marathon started the same year as World War II. What began as a friendly wager between scientists as to which one could squeeze the most miles out of a gallon of gas, has evolved over the years into a highly competitive, international event. In addition, the challenge has spread beyond the traditional fuel and into a bevy of new categories.
Here are all of the energy types currently included:
- Shell FuelSave Unleaded 95 (EU and Asia) / Shell Regular 87 (US) Petrol/Gasoline **
- Shell FuelSave Diesel (EU) / Shell Diesel (Asia and US) **
- Shell Gas To Liquid (100% GTL) (EU and Asia, not available for the Americas event)
- Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (100% FAME)
- Ethanol E100 (100% Ethanol)
**The gasoline and diesel provided by the Organisers are the Shell fuels prevalent in the local markets where the events take place. For testing and tuning purposes in the team’s home countries where Shell FuelSave Unleaded 95 and Shell FuelSave Diesel are not available, it is recommended to use the locally available Shell Unleaded 95 or Shell Diesel instead.
- Battery Electric (formerly plug-in battery)
Given the lengthy history, it is not surprising that the competition has undergone changes. More are expected over the next few years. Globally, the number of people in cities has now surpassed those living in rural settings, so the Europe event is moving to Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands, to reflect this trend. Additionally, starting next years, photovoltaic cells may be added to the vehicles in the Battery Electric category.