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. ⌧