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May 31, 2013

Shell Introduces Philippine Student Contigient to the 2013 Eco-marathon Asia

Photos by Ulysses Ang
They say the first automobile race happened right after the second car rolled off the assembly floor. The spirit of competition has always been innately human, but even more so when it’s a combination of man and machine. And though motorsports has commonly been about which car can run faster, brake shorter, and handle better; there’s another kind of competition—one that takes into account the concept of smart mobility, environmental-consciousness, and innovative thinking. This is the Shell Eco-marathon.

Last week, top officials from Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation presented team members of each participating school to the media at the Clark International Speedway. After the introductions, each team conducted their first circuit shakedown to show how their entries might fare during the actual competition in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia slated on July 4-7, 2013 at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This year, a total of 10 teams from the top engineering schools in the country, are entering in either or both the Prototype and Urban Concept categories. Pioneering teams from the Mapua Institute of Technology, University of Santo Tomas, and Don Bosco Technical College are leading the charge. Other schools representing the country are: De La Salle University – Manila, Technological Institute of the Philippines – Quezon City and Manila, University of San Carlos (Cebu), and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Manila.

The Shell Eco-marathon encourages the use of a wide variety of energy sources such as gasoline, diesel, bio-fuels, gas-to-liquids (GTL), electric battery, and many other innovative methods all in the name of smarter mobility. Participants are then made to showcase their knowledge and skills in computer-aided design and engine design, electronics, mechanical construction, and driving all to provide a positive contribution towards safe and fuel-efficient land transportation.

Mapua, one of the teams that made a good showing in earlier editions of the Shell Eco-marathon Asia, is an early favorite among the Philippine contingent to achieve record-breaking success this year. The team’s entries, dubbed “Agila” and “Haribon” in the Prototype and Urban Concept categories respectively, boast of improved design and extremely light materials. The team is also setting a fuel consumption target of at least 1,000 kilometers per liter—a large jump from their past performances at the Shell Eco-marathon Asia.

Meanwhile, De La Salle University, whose 2012 entry called “Proto” which won the Technical Innovation Award is making a re-appearance with improvements to its design and construction while keeping its award-winning advanced telemetry system, innovative battery management system, and smart cruise control function which all ensure the best energy efficiency possible. Best in Team Spirit Award winners, the Technological Institute of the Philippines, hopes to build on their collaborative effort, positive team dynamics, and highly enthusiastic attitudes in making their entry, “Mileage” perform better.

The Shell Eco-marathon Asia is one of the regional precursors to the global Eco-marathon event—an annual competition developed by Shell to encourage young student engineers all over the world to design, build, and test energy-efficient vehicles. Through this endeavor, Shell supports youth education, encourages innovation, and fosters the development of leading technology for greater energy efficiency.

Since the Shell Eco-marathon began, it has become an opportunity for Filipinos to showcase their ingenuity in the field of car engineering. Students have risen to the challenge of coming up with cars that fit the concept of what Shell describes as “innovative ways to move more people and goods, safety, cost-effectively, and with reduced impact on the environment”. Some 1,500 students from 18 Asian countries are expected to participate in this year’s event.

The Philippine contingent hopes for a strong showing since it’s also been announced that starting from 2014, the country will host the Shell Eco-marathon Asia. With a Memorandum of Agreement signed between Shell and the Department of Tourism, starting next year, the Shell Eco-marathon Asia will be held at Rizal Park. The Rizal Park’s wide driveway along Roxas Boulevard will serve as the road course where energy-efficient cars from the student teams will be tested and judged by a panel of technical experts.

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