Taking the top spot yet again, Team UiTM Eco-Sprint from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Shah Alam, Malaysia brought home victory for the fourth consecutive time with a result of 359.4 kms per cubic metre in the Hydrogen category, at the recently held Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2017 held in Singapore. Emerging as the runners-up in the same category, University of Malaya’s Eco-Voyager earned Malaysia a sweet 1-2 victory by achieving an improved reading of 255.7 kms/cubic metre (compared to the team’s result at the competition last year).
The Shell Eco-marathon Asia is an annual competition that challenges teams to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient cars. This year, 123 student teams from 20 countries competed in either of two categories of the competition: Prototype – futuristic and highly aerodynamic vehicles – or Urban Concept – highly economical vehicles that resemble today’s cars. These categories were further divided into three sub-categories of energy sources, of which students would select from: Internal Combustion Engine: petrol, diesel, ethanol (biofuel), Gas to Liquid (fuel made from natural gas), CNG; hydrogen fuel cell; and battery electric power.
“For 8 years now, the regions’ brightest minds have come together to design, build and test their energy efficient vehicles at the Shell Eco-marathon. I’m especially proud of our young Malaysian engineers and innovators who have showcased their tenacity and perseverance alongside their technical expertise to address the global need for cleaner energy. Year after year, we see them improving not just their designs, but also their confidence – after all, the competition puts more than their engineering capabilities on display. It also harnesses their soft skills such as team leadership, marketing and communications, and business acumen as well,” said Datuk Iain Lo, Shell Malaysia Country Chairman.
“This competition has tested us beyond our technical abilities and really pushed us to better our time and project management skills, all of which are useful non-technical proficiencies in our field. I wish more teams will benefit from the competition like we did and hope that the future teams representing the country will win again with better results!” said Team UiTM Eco-Sprint manager Amirah Athirah Rohazam. She hoped competitions like this will also help to popularise STEM subjects in Malaysian education institutions, especially amongst aspiring women engineers,”
“Our team members are all from various engineering departments – some are from mechanical, some others are from electrical. And in designing this car, we came together to produce a more fuel-efficient automobile, integrating our learnings from a diverse expertise and bringing our theoretical knowledge to life. We also really pushed ourselves to win as this competition put us on an international stage and representing Malaysia beyond our faculties and university was an honour,” said Team UM Eco-Voyager manager S. Inthiran.
Although the competition has been running in Europe for more than 3 decades and in the USA since 2007, the concept of the event originally began in 1939 at a Shell research laboratory in the United States as a friendly challenge between scientists to see who could get the most miles per gallon from their vehicle. The event was introduced in Asia in 2010 and Malaysia was the first country in this region to host the competition. In every region, similar rules apply, ie all vehicles must pass a set of technical tests before they are allowed onto the competition circuit to see how far they can get on the least amount of fuel, and potentially achieve the highest mileage in the competition.