Thai teams again take honours at Shell Eco-Marathon in Manila

business February 23, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Thailand has emerged as a major victor at "Shell Eco-Marathon Asia 2014" with three championship titles.

Team How Much Ethanol from Panjavidhya Technological College drove 2,730 kilometres on a litre of ethanol – the highest mileage recorded at this year’s competition and equivalent to the distance from Manila to Jakarta. The team is joined by fellow Thai winners from Sakon Nakhon Technical College in the Prototype Gasoline category and Rattanakosin Technological College in the Prototype Battery Electric category. 
Since Shell Eco-Marathon Asia started in 2010, Thai teams have dominated the leader-boards with their ultra-efficient vehicles.
“Our winning formula was to focus 97 per cent of our efforts on designing the car and 3 per cent on the engine,” said Chumphol Sitthios, team manager for Panjavidhya Technological College. “Our car was custom-designed around our designated driver for optimal performance, and we built the engine to maximise the capacity of our car. 
“We also practised on a circuit in Thailand that has a similar layout to Luneta Park,” the Manila venue for the competition.
Asada Harinsuit, country chairman of the Shell Company of Thailand, added: “We are really very happy and proud that once again a Thai team has won here at the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia. Their innovations and skills have made them No 1 for the fourth year in a row, and their extraordinary abilities will certainly continue to inspire the next generation of engineers to meet our future energy needs.”
Student participants of the eco-marathon overcame the challenges of a new urban circuit to clock improved fuel-economy results in five out of 12 categories compared with the previous edition. New best scores were recorded for Prototype Diesel by China’s Tongji University at 616.2 kilometres per litre, Prototype Gasoline by Sakon Nakhon Technical College at 1,796.0km/l, Urban Concept Gasoline by Universitas Indonesia at 301.7km/l, Urban Concept Battery Electric by Institute of Technical Education Singapore at 126.3km/l, and Urban Concept Diesel by Indonesia’s Politeknik Negeri Pontianak at 70.3km/l.
This is the first year the event has taken place on the streets of Luneta Park in Manila, having previously been held at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur. The new urban setting is designed to test the boundaries of fuel efficiency in a real-world environment.
“A street circuit certainly presents more difficulty, as vehicles tend to consume more energy while navigating urban roads. The fact that teams are still making marked improvements on their scores and clocking new personal bests is extremely impressive,” said Norman Koch, Shell Eco-Marathon technical director. 
This year’s winners bested 105 student teams from 15 countries across Asia and the Middle East. Teams submitted vehicle entries in either the Urban Concept or Prototype category in any of the seven different energy types. Results are measured on who can drive the furthest on the equivalent of 1 kilowatt-hour or 1 litre of fuel.
Closing the event, Edgar Chua, country chairman for Shell companies in the Philippines, said: “In the Philippines we have a saying, ‘The youth are our hope for the future.’ When I look at all the young, budding students and what they have achieved at Shell Eco-Marathon Asia, I too am inspired myself. I hope they have had a great experience – in learning new skills, absorbing new cultures and making new friends.”
In addition to the 12 on-track awards, teams competed for six off-track awards that tested their various technical and creative skills, as well as their approach to safety and sustainability. A panel of experts from various fields judged the students on safety, communications, technical innovation, vehicle design, perseverance, and spirit of the event, and the Shell Helix Tribology Award. That is an off-track award that recognises student teams that demonstrate the use of lubrication engineering principles to improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles.
Shell Eco-Marathon Asia also welcomed thousands of visitors to Asia’s first ever Shell Energy Lab, showcasing the future of energy, technology and mobility.