Six Filipino student teams will compete at the 2012 Shell Eco-Marathon Asia to be held on July 4 to 7 at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. The annual fuel-economy contest has drawn some 130 student teams from 18 countries all over Asia and the Middle East, including several first-timers like South Korea and Qatar.
The Philippine teams include De La Salle University, Technological Institute of the Philippines, University of the Philippines-Diliman, and University of San Carlos. Last year, UP-Diliman's Team Kidlat won the Diesel Fuel Award in the Urban Concept category with a car that ran the equivalent of 60km/L. The Mapua Institute of Technology won second place for the Safety Award in the Prototype category and ran 186km/L.
The Filipino students will see stiff competition this year. They will be up against 28 teams from Malaysia, 18 teams each from Indonesia and Pakistan, 13 teams each from India and Thailand, six teams from China, five teams each from Brunei and Vietnam, three teams each from Iran and Qatar, two teams each from Japan and Lebanon, and one team each from Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.
At stake is a total of US$42,000 in prize money across 28 on-track awards for the Prototype and Urban Concept categories. A first prize of US$2,000 will be awarded to the winning team in each fuel category, followed by a second prize of US$1,000. New off-track awards valued at US$1,000 each will also be given for "Eco-Design," "Best Team Spirit," and "Perseverance in the Face of Adversity.”
This is the third staging of the Asian edition of Shell's super-mileage challenge. The concept for Shell Eco-Marathon was born all the way back in 1939 at a Shell research laboratory in the US--a friendly wager between scientists to see who could get the most miles per gallon of fuel. In 1985, Shell Eco-Marathon as we know it today was established in France. In 2007, Shell Eco-Marathon Americas was launched in the US, and in 2010, the first Shell Eco-Marathon Asia was held in Malaysia.
The event is designed "to inspire student innovation and develop future technologies that represent game-changing fuel efficiency and transportation performance." To help meet the growing energy demand and reduce future carbon-dioxide emissions, Shell Eco-Marathon Asia challenges participants "to design, build and test vehicles to go the farthest distance using the least amount of energy."
Last year, Luk Jao Mae Khlong Prapa of Thailand won the Prototype category by recording an amazing 2,213.4km on just a liter of fuel. It was enough to drive from Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.
"We continue to be impressed each year by how the students in this region are constantly outdoing themselves by coming up with clever, innovative designs that aim to break new ground in energy efficiency," says Shell Eco-marathon Asia project manager Mavis Kuek. "It is encouraging to see so many of our youths taking advantage of this platform to create innovative urban mobility solutions to meet the energy challenges of tomorrow."
Shell Eco-Marathon Asia will be hosted again by Malaysia next year, after which the regional event will take place in Manila from 2014 to 2016.
Photo below shows the Philippine contingent at last year's Shell Eco-Marathon Asia.