Envisioned by two Shell scientists back in 1939, Shell ‘Make the future’ is a global event that aims at developing fuel efficient vehicles. Shell started inviting bright mind students to develop ultra-energy efficient cars in France starting 1978. The students get their self-built vehicles screened through a detailed technical and safety inspection by Shell technical team before competing on track. The idea is to ensure students develop their own capacities in building their own motor controllers and avoid rip-off any other vehicle powertrain to chip the same set into their own vehicle, Colin chin, Technical Director Asia, Shell Eco-marathon.
Student teams work hard to prove energy efficiency of their cars with speed and skill set of their drivers while competing in two different categories - prototype and urban concept. In the prototype category, contestants develop futuristic vehicles with highly efficient aerodynamics. However, in the urban concept category, the students tend to design more conventional, roadworthy, energy-efficient vehicles that could meet the needs of drivers in real conditions. Students need to choose between internal combustion (IC) - petrol, diesel & biofuel and the battery electric type - powered by hydrogen fuel cells or lithium-based batteries. Shell technical team undertakes 200 inspection checklists depending upon energy type and vehicle category. Additionally, Shell also ensures students learn about how to adhere to safety regulations while developing their fuel efficient vehicles, stresses Chin.
India has been part of the Shell Eco-marathon for eight years now and this year a total of 247 students participated across 20 teams (19 Indian and one from Oman) at MMRT. Total prize money of Rs 20 lakhs was awarded to the students competing at the event. Team Averera comprising students from the Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, won a cash prize of three lakh rupees for their vehicle competing in the battery electric prototype category that registered a result of 362.5 km/kWh. Team Averera developed a battery electric prototype built with carbon fiber and resin polymer. The teardrop design monocoque structure was deployed with 48V three phase brushless DC motor coupled to a customised controller to achieve high mileage. Team DTU Supermileage from Delhi Technical University was adjudged winners in the ICE urban concept category for achieving a mileage of 154 km/l and Team Eco Titans from VIT University won the ICE prototype category registering 129.2 km/l fuel efficiency.