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History of the Shell Eco-Marathon

This low consumption race has grown in the UK, where it has been a great success since its launch in 1977 when it was titled Shell Mileage Marathons. Prototypes were specially constructed to travel maximum mileage with minimum fuel.

In France, the first edition was held in 1985, twenty teams participated and the record was 680 km with 1 liter of fuel. Until 1999, this event took place at the Paul Ricard track in Le Castellet. From 2000 to 2008, the race is organized at the Paul Armagnac race track in Nogaro. Since then, the track has changed every three years (2009-2011 in Lausitz, 2012-2014 in Rotterdam).

After a successful launch in 2003, the Urban Concept category and the alternative energy class are part of the Shell Eco-Marathon. It is in these two categories that Ulg has chosen to compete


Energy management, projects developed for a minimum consumption !

The principle of the race is to travel a given distance at an average speed of 25km/h for the Urban Concept category (30km/h for prototypes). The final ranking is determined according to the equivalent consumption of fuel Shell Formula Super 95 expressed in km/liter. For instance, with a drop of gasoline , a vehicle of the Shell Eco- marathon can travel 5 km .

Driving as far as possible by getting the best energy efficiency is proposed by Shell to students and their teachers.

Beyond performance and competition, the Shell Eco-Marathon is an educational project integrating sustainable development values: respect for people, energy management and protection of the environment.

The participants to the Shell Eco-Marathon learn to manage a project from A to Z, from design to financing aspects. The objective is to design a vehicle with extremely low fuel consumption within a budget ... often tight!

To achieve this, the teams work all year on a real concrete technical project. The design and construction of this vehicle are a real multidisciplinary outcome. Seeking sponsors for technical or financial partnerships is a great opportunity opening to the professional world.

By exploring new concepts, competitors anticipate tomorrow's car that will be less greedy and cleaner thanks to their better fuel efficiency.

Closer to reality, Shell created, in 2003, the Urban Concept category, gathering vehicles whose characteristics are similar to those of common cars, adapted to traffic.  Since 2003, a single ranking has been common to all energy classes: Grand Prix Shell Eco- marathon will be awarded to vehicle group Prototype or Urban Concept with the best energy efficiency, all energies mixed up.

Competitors are eligible for one or more of the five special awards : Safety, Technical Innovation, Design , Communication and tribology awards.

Competitors have to enter:

In one of the two categories:
• Prototype
• Urban Concept
And in one of the four power classes:
• Premium Fuel
• Diesel
• Alternative Energies (all energy sources that are renewable).

The environmental aspect

A challenge where vehicles work for the environment respect.

To optimize their energy efficiency, Shell Eco-Marathon vehicles propose original solutions developed from very different research fields. The teams involved accept the energy challenge and work on many parameters: mechanics, engine, chassis, aerodynamics, tires, steering…

Preserving the environment is to improve the energy efficiency of traditional energy sources such as gasoline, diesel fuel, but also to use cleaner fuels such as LPG, hydrogen, solar or biomass.

Since 1985, the distance traveled in the Shell Eco-marathon has increased from 680 km to 3,494 km on the equivalent of one liter of fuel. It shows that the energy efficiency of our vehicles can still be improved considerably. The introduction of alternative energy opens new perspectives in this unique race.

By realizing the performance of running the equivalent of more than 3,000 km on one liter of fuel, the best Shell Eco-marathon vehicles make a significant step in preserving the environment by minimizing CO2 emissions. Driving one lap on the racetrack at 25 km/h with one of these vehicles produces less CO2 than doing it running (2.3 g against 45 g ) !

Despite the quest for performance, safety is nevertheless essential. Regulation of the Shell Eco-marathon imposes numerous passive safety standards, such as attachment loops and metal mounting belts, accessibility and maneuverability of the extinguisher... Concerning the active safety, race director and marshals keep a careful eye on the drivers’ behavior.

The human aspect

A human adventure where the diversity is essential.

The Shell Eco-marathon promotes teamwork by bringing together people with different backgrounds around a single project. For competitors, it is the opportunity to broaden their horizon to other worlds, to other disciplines and, for some, to give a new meaning to their studies.

The Shell Eco-marathon gathers all levels of education from secondary school to university. All find the opportunity to excel and enhance their learning achievement. The spirit of the event allows everyone to develop their sense of initiative, to provide its expertise, to invest and find pleasure in his work. The involvement of teachers makes this competition a real educational project based on group work and interdisciplinary.

The Shell Eco-marathon is a window to the world with students from various countries, such as Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Belgium.

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