Flying Our Flag At The Shell Eco-Marathon Asia 2013

BY Burnpavement

The future looks green as students from tertiary institutions compete for Eco-glory.

Six innovative eco-friendly concept cars were recently unveiled in Singapore. Designed and built by students whose ages range from as young as 16 to 25, these vehicles of the future will hit the tracks of Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 4 to 7 July 2013 in the annual Shell Eco-marathon ("SEM") Asia competition. This challenge requires student teams to create vehicles that can go the farthest distance using the least amount of energy.

In the lead up to the race at Sepang, a ceremonial send-off event was organised by the schools at ITE College West on 18 June. The student teams showcased their innovations and shared stories of their winning aspirations. This year's line-up boasts a range of new and improvised vehicles running on a variety of energy sources such as diesel, hydrogen, batteries and plug-in electricity. 

Guest-of-Honour Mr Jose Raymond, Executive Director of Singapore Environment Council, who officiated the send-off, said: "I'm very impressed by the students' innovations and their passion for smarter mobility and sustainability. They should be aware that their dedication to the need for sustainability will go a long way in the future of fuel efficiency. The student teams of such calibre and foresight, will bring pride not just to our nation, but the world as well."

"Sustainable mobility for Shell means helping our customers to be more fuel-efficient today while we find new ways to deliver a cleaner transport system for tomorrow. Shell Eco-marathon plays an important role to help inspire a younger generation of engineers and scientists to experiment creatively on fuel efficiency and to put new ideas into practice," said Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore. The six Singapore student teams hail from Institute of Technical Education College West (ITE College West), Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU), and will be battling 133 teams from 16 countries in Asia and the Middle East to tackle the future of energy.

ITE College West: Having clinched third place last year in the E-Mobility Plug-in category with a mileage of 74km/kWh, ITE College West is looking forward to compete for the fourth time this year. Since the first SEM in Asia in 2010, multi-disciplinary student teams from the School of Engineering at ITE College West have successfully developed five eco cars. Dr Yek Tiew Ming, Principal, ITE College West, said: "We are extremely happy that all the eco cars developed by our students have passed the stringent safety standards set by SEM Asia and completed successful runs on the Sepang International Circuit. SEM Asia is an authentic learning experience for our students and we are looking forward to see how our student teams will perform this year."

Ngee Ann Polytechnic: Coming up top in the Hydrogen and Battery Electric categories in 2012, NP intends to repeat their wins this year by using new electrical components, employing new driving strategies and even losing some weight with cardio exercises to help the cars move more efficiently. Muhammad Khaliq, 23-year old team manager of the UrbanConcept team, said: "We were exhilarated when the previous team won the Battery Electric category last year with a mileage of 118.8 km/kWh, while Indonesia came in second at 74.9km/kWh. We hope to maintain our top spot this year and maybe even beat our own record."

NTU: After sweeping multiple prizes last year in the Prototype category for Battery Electric and Diesel Fuel, as well as the Safety Award, NTU is ready to achieve more this year by exploring new innovative design elements. This year, NTU is introducing two new cars for the competition: a newly designed diesel car with a sustainable frame entirely handmade out of wood, and technically superior solar electric car, which features a custom-made transmission system and a novel, first of its kind, NTU designed clutch system. Faculty advisor Professor Ng Heong Wah said: "Our students are working very hard to build the two cars for SEM this year. They are motivated to invest much time and effort in this project because of the opportunity to develop and actually build innovate transport solutions for the future, beyond what lectures and textbooks alone could offer."