The race for ef­fi­ciency

247 stu­dents in 20 teams from 18 col­leges vied for top hon­ours to de­sign and build the most en­ergy ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cle


SHELL ECO-MARATHON, part of the com­pany’s ‘Make the Fu­ture In­dia 2018’ ini­tia­tive, was con­ducted at MMRT in Chen­nai from De­cem­ber 6-9, 2018. The global event, held for the first time in In­dia, en­cour­aged en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents across the coun­try to de­sign and build the most en­ergy-ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cles to meet the en­ergy de­mands of the fu­ture, while pro­duc­ing less CO2. The com­pe­ti­tion was di­vided into two cat­e­gories – Pro­to­type and Ur­ban Con­cept. Stu­dents had the choice of us­ing ei­ther in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines or full elec­tric en­ergy to power their con­cept ve­hi­cles.

The num­bers were stag­ger­ing. Fig­ures such as 154kmpl and 129.2kmpl were achieved by Team DTU Su­per­mileage from Delhi Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­sity and Team Eco Ti­tans from VIT Uni­ver­sity, who were crowned win­ners in the IC en­gine Ur­ban Con­cept cat­e­gory and IC en­gine Pro­to­type Con­cept cat­e­gory re­spec­tively. Team Aver­era from IIT-BHU were crowned win­ners in the Pro­to­type bat­tery elec­tric ve­hi­cle cat­e­gory, for achiev­ing a fig­ure of 362.5km/kWh in their Li-ion bat­tery-pow­ered ve­hi­cle. For per­spec­tive, it would be like us­ing just a sin­gle unit of elec­tric­ity to drive from Chen­nai to Bengaluru! The win­ning teams won a cash prize of `3 lakh each.

The Ur­ban cat­e­gory com­prised mod­els made by the stu­dents that look like small cars. The Pro­to­type, on the other hand is a long, sleek ve­hi­cle and its shape is in­spired by a wa­ter droplet. It has two wheels at the front and a cen­trally po­si­tioned rear wheel. Seat­ing po­si­tion is sim­i­lar to that of an F1 car, only much more dif­fi­cult. Stu­dents lit­er­ally had to lie down to pi­lot the car.

The teams had to build their con­cept cars based on the stan­dards set by Shell. Be­fore the teams en­tered the track, their cars were scru­ti­nised by the tech­ni­cal teams from Shell who had a check­list that cov­ered all the ar­eas of the car in­clud­ing the safety as­pects, which was given ut­most im­por­tance. It was only af­ter the teams had passed scru­tiny in es­sen­tial cri­te­ria in­clud­ing seat belt an­chor points, wiring sys­tems, fuel sys­tems, brakes and over­all ve­hi­cle di­men­sions, that they were al­lowed to take their ve­hi­cle on the track for test runs.

The teams were given five at­tempts each. A part of the MMRT was used and each lap was 1km in length. They had to com­plete four laps in 19 min­utes. Fuel was filled in a 250ml glass beaker which was used as the fuel tank. Af­ter each run, the fuel con­sumed was cal­cu­lated by the en­gi­neers from Shell and the fuel con­sump­tion was then ex­trap­o­lated in kmpl, with the best of five at­tempts taken into con­sid­er­a­tion. In the EV class, the km/kWh was cal­cu­lated. Af­ter each run, the tech team from Shell checked the en­ergy con­sumed with their joule me­ters, cal­cu­lat­ing the km/kWh of the ve­hi­cle and declar­ing the EV that con­sumed least en­ergy as the win­ner. ⌧

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