The Shell Eco-Marathon Asia 2011 wrapped up on Saturday in Malaysia with the nine participating Pakistani teams in high spirits even though they did not bag any awards at the concluding ceremony.
Ninety-three student teams from all over Asia participated in the Shell Eco-marathon, held at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur building their own prototype and urban concept cars from scratch using fuels such as diesel, gasoline or biofuels, as well as alternative energy sources such as solar, hydrogen and plug-in electricity.
Thailand swept most of the awards, winning the grand prize under the prototype category, repeating their winning streak from last year. The winning team of Luk Jao Mae Khlong set a new record of 2,213.4 kilometres on one litre of ethanol, beating last year’s record of 1,521,9 km/l.
The competition challenged students to design, build and drive a vehicle that can travel the furthest distance in the least amount of fuel.
Out of the nine Pakistani teams, three managed to complete all four laps in the competition, while all the teams qualified for the track.
Not winning any officials awards didn’t break the spirit of the young students, who chanted ‘Pakistan Zindabad’, in true Pakistani fashion.
Supported fully by their Shell ambassadors and chaperons, all the teams promised to come back next year bigger and better.
“I’m happy for the grand experience; disappointed for not winning and even further motivated at the end of this event,” Muhammad Usman Rafique of the Air-X team told The Express Tribune. He explained that his team managed a travel a distance 80 km on one kilowatt/hr of electricity.
Considered as the underdogs, Pak Pacers team said that they were satisfied with their performance, with team member Awais Ali saying, “Considering this was our first time ever in the competition, we were the first to qualify and complete the laps amongst the other Pakistani teams.”
While the teams were successful in testing Shell’s goal for smarter mobility, the ride was less than smooth. Almost all the teams had their cars delivered two days late, meaning they started working at the last minute on their cars, a lot later than the other teams.
Harris Rehman, the team leader of Winmark, the team from NED University, said that never in the 27 years since the launch of the Eco-marathon has such a problem occurred. “If the delay in the clearance of the cars had not happened, we would have emerged as the winners,” he told The Express Tribune. His teammate Hassan Abbasi added that the only thing the team lacked was “a backup plan for bad luck”.
This was the third time Pakistan had participated in the event.
The Pakistani teams included Aqua II from the Ghulam Ishaq Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology, Pak Pacers from the University of Engineering & Technology Taxila, The Y-Nots! and Air-X from Air University, Paragon and Winmark from NED University, Emenents UC and Emenents PT from National University of Science and Technology, and Pak Thunder from HITEC University.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2011.