Some 81 teams from 10 countries around Asia have gathered for the flag-off of the first-ever Shell Ecomarathon Asia, now being held at the Sepang F1 circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The event marks the first time that the Shell Ecomarathon, which has been running in Europe since 1985 and the United States since 2007, has been brought to Asia. This allows young Asian talents to take up a longstanding challenge from Shell: design, build and drive a vehicle that can travel the furthest distance on the least amount of fuel and lowest possible C02 emissions.
Flagging off the event on Thursday (July 8) afternoon, Shell Executive Vice President for Global Business to Business and Lubricants Tan Chong Meng, said :” Ever since mankind invented the wheel, we have been addicted to mobility, and over the years, we have pushed the technological boundaries of travelling further, faster and more economically. The Shell Ecomarathon adds a much needed twist ….to achieve all of these ambitions without injuring our planet.
“When I mingled with the students earlier today, one of you asked me, ‘wouldn’t this put Shell out of business?’ Well frankly, yes, but at Shell, we also recognise that the way energy in used today is not sustainable. Hence, we are striving to do our part to meet the world’s growing demand for energy. We work with partners to create more fuel efficient products, improve the way they are used, and help push the frontiers on transport infrastructure. We call this ‘smarter mobility’.”
Also gracing the flag-off was Dato’ Sri Peter Chin, Malaysia’s Minister for Energy, Green Technology and Water, as well as ambassadors, High Commissioners, business leaders and guests from Malaysia and around the region.
The guests met students who were busy readying their vehicles for Day 1 of the event, which kicks off on Friday morning(July 9). Their vehicles come in various shapes and sizes, some resembling sleek capsules to minimize drag, and others decked in solar panels to catch the energy from the Sepang sun overhead. The students’ choices for fuel sources were also as diverse as the region they represent, from gasoline, biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells and diesel.
Pakistan has fielded the largest number of teams (20), followed by Malaysia (19) and Thailand (13), Indonesia (9), and Singapore (8). Others have come from Japan, the Philippines, China and India.
The teams are eager to set the first record for Asia. They are also hoping to beat the all-time global record of 4,896 km – equivalent to travelling from Beijing to Singapore - on a single litre of fuel, which was set by Team Polyjule Polytech Nantes from France at the European edition of the Shell Eco-marathon in May.
Many students were just as excited about being part of the inaugural Asian Eco-Marathon. Indonesian Team Exia of Institut Teknologi Bandung, relished the experience. “The support from friends and family is overwhelming. We hope to win this for them,” Elingselasri, its team leader said. Team Exia, which is one of nine teams from Indonesia, is also in the lead for one of the off-track award, the “People’s Choice Award”, with over 51,000 votes from online supporters.
Students from Tajma Technical Institute of Japan, who have previously joined Shell Eco-marathon Europe in 2008, are raring to put their vehicle to the test. “Our choice of using biodiesel, our design and most importantly, our determination, are our competitive edge over the other schools,” Tsuneyuki Shikata, the team leader, said.
Two related events are being held as part of the inaugural Shell Ecomarathon Asia:
1. Asia’s Smartest Fuelsaver: Apart from challenging students to design fuel-efficient vehicles of the future, Shell is also helping present day motorists get the most out of every drop of fuel they use in their present-day vehicles. It is holding a Shell FuelSave One Litre Challenge which pits 12 drivers from around the region to find “Asia’s Smartest Fuelsaver”. The winner will be the one who drives as many kilometers as possible around a specially marked course on the south track at Sepang on a single litre of Shell FuelSave Unleaded, while demonstrating their fuel saving skills and knowledge. Results will be announced tomorrow (July 9), with a fuel efficient car up for grabs.
2. Asia Energy Dialogue: Solutions to the world’s looming energy challenge will also be discussed by about 50 top government, business and community leaders as well as academics and think tank chiefs from around the region at the Asia Energy Dialogue, organized by the Singapore Institute for International Affairs, and supported by Shell. Titled “Sustaining Asia’s Rise: Energy and the Environment”, speakers include Mr Agus Sari, Director of Indonesia PT Pelangi Energi Abadi Vitra Enviro (PEACE), Professor C.S. Kiang, founding dean of the College of Environmental Sciences at Beijing University, China, and Mr Shahid Hasan, Associate Director of Regulatory Studies and Governance Division at India’s The Energy Resources Institute (TERI).
Shell’s Mr Tan Chong Meng will deliver the key note address at the session, spelling out Shell’s efforts to work with partners to promote technologies, products and services which will help deliver smarter mobility solutions that consumers and communities are seeking.
Following today’s flag-off, student teams will take their vehicles to the track from tomorrow morning (July 9) try to get the most out of every precious drop of fuel as they become the first participants at the inaugural run in Asia, making the Shell Ecomarathon a truly global event for the first time.
For more information on the Shell Eco-marathon, please visit www.shell.com/ecomarathon.
Regional Manager (Asia Pacific)
Group Communications Strategy
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