Manila, Philippines – Asia’s most fuel-efficient vehicles, designed by students,were officially flagged off this morning at Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2012. Now in its third year, the competition challenges Asia’s brightest young minds to create innovative vehicles of the future that push the boundaries of fuel-efficiency and energy conservation.
Simon Henry, Chief Financial Officer, Royal Dutch Shell plc kicked off the ceremony earlier today. “It’s amazing to see how much effort and passion goes into building these vehicles. The ingenuity and creativity of our young scientists and engineers are an inspiration to us all, and shows what we might expect from cars of the future,” said Mr. Henry.
He was joined by Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri IdrisJala, chief executive officer of Malaysia’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), as well as ambassadors, stakeholders and business leaders from Malaysia and around the region, who were gathered to witness the innovative vehicles the teams brought to the track.
The annual event, created by Shell, requires student teams to design, build and test vehicles that can go the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. Following similar events held in the Americas and Europe earlier this year, the Asian leg of the competition welcomes119 student teams representing 18 countries/territories across the region showcasing their futuristic designs at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.The event this year has already drawn a crowd of over 1,500 students and visitors.
The winning team in the Prototype category set a record of 1,521.9 kilometres on a single litre of fuel at the inaugural Shell Eco-marathon Asia in 2010, and last year’s winners recorded an impressive 2,213.4 kilometres on the same amount of fuel – enough to drive from Kuala Lumpur to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.
The Prototype category invites student teams to enter futuristic concepts – streamlined vehicles focused on maximizing fuel-efficiency through innovative design elements. The Urban Concept category focuses on more “roadworthy” fuel-efficient vehicles.Aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers, these vehicles are closer in appearance to the higher-mileage cars seen on roads today.This year’s Shell Eco-marathon Asia sees a total of 81Prototype and 38UrbanConcept entries from the region. Student teams will take to the tracks over the next two days to conduct supervised trials and official attempts for their best performance ahead of the closing of the competition and prize-giving ceremony on July 7, 2012.
Following the flag-off ceremony, Mr. Henry opened the Future Energy, Smarter Mobility Forum which saw150 policymakers and stakeholders from around the region in a panel discussion on present and future energy issues and solutions. The forum aims to drive dialogue on issues relating to smarter mobility, sustainable transportation and city planning in countries across Asia. Held at SIC, against the backdrop of the student event, the forum highlighted future growth trends in urban mobility, urging leaders of today to address the need for sustainability and explore the feasibility of alternative fuels to meet the energy challenges of tomorrow.The session began with a keynote address by YB Sri IdrisJala, followed by a lively discussion by panelists AsfaazamKasbani, Assistant Resident Representative (Environment & Energy Cluster) for the United Nations Development Programme, Malaysia, Edward Clayton, Director, Booz & Company (Malaysia) SdnBhd and Mark Gainsborough, EVP Global Commercial, Shell, with Datuk Wong Sai Wan, Executive Editor of The Star, Malaysia moderating.
“At Shell, we’re working to accelerate innovation and make mobility smarter – from more efficient vehicle fuels to liquid fuels made from cleaner natural gas. But it will take more than just technical innovation to satisfy the demands of a growing global population. We need to invest time and money in developing new partnerships to match commercial expertise from the private sector with the regulatory expertise of the public sector for a more sustainable future,” Mr. Henry said.
The judging process for seven Off-Track awards also begins today. New awards such as for “Eco-Design,” “Best Team Spirit” and “Perseverance in the Face of Adversity” are available this year to motivate student teams to go beyond the technical competition.
For more information on all Shell Eco-marathon events across the globe, including official rules, instructions for registration and details on prizes, please visit the Shell Eco-marathon website at www.shell.com/ecomarathon.