Shell Eco-Marathon kicks off in Malaysia

Posted at 07/09/2010 5:49 PM | Updated as of 07/09/2010 6:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Teams from various Asian participating schools are raring to start the first Asian Shell Eco-Marathon as they prepared their vehicles on the famous Sepang F1 circuit in Malaysia on Friday.

With roughly 81 student teams participating, the racetrack was filled with vehicles in various shapes and sizes. Some resembled capsules while others were decked with solar panels.

According to Shell, the organizer of the marathon, the fuel sources of each team are diverse: gasoline, biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells, and diesel.

Pakistan has 20 participating teams while Malaysia and Thailand both fielded 19 teams. Indonesia has 9 representatives, and Singapore fielded 8 teams. Japan, the Philippines, China, and India also sent teams.

Team Philippines is composed of students from the country's top engineering schools: Don Bosco Technical College, Mapua Institute of Technology, University of Santo Tomas.

Unlike car rally races, the goal of the competition is to reach the most number of miles using the least amount of fuel and least amount of carbon emissions. The cars were conceptualized, designed, and made by the students.

"At Shell, we also recognize that the way energy is in use today is not sustainable.  Hence, we are striving to do our part to meet the world’s growing demand for energy.   We work with partners to create more fuel efficient products, improve the way they are used, and help push the frontiers on transport infrastructure. We call this ‘smarter mobility’,” Shell Executive Vice President for Global Business to Business and Lubricants Tan Chong Meng told students on Thursday.

”Ever since mankind invented the wheel, we have been addicted to mobility, and over the years, we have pushed the technological boundaries of travelling  further, faster and more economically.   The Shell Eco-marathon adds a much needed twist ….to achieve all of these ambitions without injuring our planet," he added.

The event has been held in Europe since 1985, and in the United States since 2007.

The students aim to beat the global record of 4,896 km, equivalent to travelling from Beijing to Singapore, with a single liter of fuel.

The record was set in the European edition of the Shell Eco-Marathon by Team Polyjule Polytech Nantes from France in May.