Frequently Asked Questions
Shell Eco-marathon in 2022 will combine the best of our physical and virtual competitions. We will reintroduce our track events where it is safe to do so, and continue to build on our now established virtual programme, including a brand-new challenge: Future Rider.
This season will also offer a new series of Virtual Learning Sessions, covering exciting topics tailored to students’ interests with live Q&A sessions at the end of each presentation.
Registration for the 2022 Season is open and teams must register for both virtual and on-track elements by November 10, 2021.
The Virtual Programme consists of different component competitions, all part of a global Virtual League. Participating teams will be able to earn points in the competitions that they choose to take part in and will be globally ranked. The Virtual League consist of the following competitions as defined in Section 6 of the Official Rules, Chapter I:
- Future Rider*
- Shell Eco-marathon Quiz
- Pitch the Future
- Autonomous Programming Competition
- Virtual Off-Track Awards
- Bonus Challenges**
*Please note that the submission period for Future Rider is October 1 – 28, 2021; if you want to take part in this challenge, you must complete the general registration before the end of the submission period.
**Bonus Challenges are surprise virtual challenges that may take place throughout the season.
Teams will be awarded points for their achievements in the Virtual League component competitions per the table in Article 91 of the Official Rules, Chapter I.
Where it is safely possible to host physical events, the On-track Programme will include the new Shell Eco-marathon Mini Events. Still based on the traditional mileage challenge format, these will be smaller, more accessible events to take place in dedicated tracks across each region. They are open to any registered team from the relevant region, new or experienced, with prizes available for each energy and vehicle type, as well as selected Off-Track Award categories.
First and foremost, teams wishing to take part in Shell Eco-marathon 2022, both virtual and on-track activities, must register at the general season registration, open from September 1 – November 10, 2021. The next phases of registration for each on-track event will open once the dates and locations are confirmed.
Per Article 1(a) of the Official Rules, all applications will be evaluated based on the quality of the entry and historical successes of the team. For both new and experienced teams, it is very important to clearly demonstrate compliance with the technical requirements and readiness to compete. If there are more suitable applications than physical team slots available, participation in the Virtual Programme may also be considered in the selection process. Refer to the Official Rules, Chapter I for more information.
About Shell Eco-Marathon
Shell Eco-marathon is one of the world’s leading student engineering competitions focused on energy optimisation. At its very base iteration, conceived 35 years ago, teams are asked to design, build and drive some of the world’s most energy-efficient vehicles. Over the decades, the programme has helped bring to life Shell’s mission of powering progress by providing more and cleaner energy solutions.
The academic programme currently challenges STEM students across the globe to tackle the energy challenges of today – in areas as diverse as mobility, artificial intelligence, and the urban environment. The programme seeks to spark conversation, stimulate collaboration and drive innovation from some of the world’s most brilliant young minds, inspiring bright ideas that can help shape a lower carbon future for all.
The origins of the competition date back to 1939 when Bob Greenshields, Shell’s Research Director at the time, made a friendly wager with his colleagues to see who could get the best fuel economy from road cars adapted to maximise energy efficiency. Bob achieved 49 MPG, setting a record that would eventually be beaten, but a legacy that has certainly lasted the distance.
Shell Eco-marathon as we know it now was officially launched in 1985, when 25 teams gathered in France to pit their wooden vehicles against one another in a format you’d be familiar with today. While this laid the foundations for the competition we now know and love, Shell Eco-marathon has come even further during the pandemic, to encompass other carbon and energy optimisation areas outside of mobility.
Teams can choose from two vehicle classes:
- Urban Concept: vehicles that have familiar road car features (always 4 wheels)
- Prototype: ultra-efficient, lightweight vehicles (generally 3 wheels)
Teams must then choose between three energy categories:
- Internal Combustion Engine (gasoline, diesel or ethanol)
- Battery Electric
- Hydrogen Fuel Cell
A maximum of two vehicles per institution may be considered for any given Shell Eco-marathon event, granted they are of (i) different vehicle classes and (ii) different energy categories.
Different competitions for different disciplines make up the programme. Currently there are two key types of global competitions:
On-track competitions – Track based competitions where invited teams bring vehicles they have designed and built to a physical location. Teams will drive and compete for the best energy efficiency result in their vehicle class and energy category against teams from academic institutions in their region.
There are several different types of on-track competitions:
- Shell Eco-marathon Mini Events are smaller, more accessible events open to both new and experienced teams, temporarily replacing the traditional Challenger and Regional competitions while stricter health and safety requirements are in place.
- Challenger competitions are local events designed primarily as an entry-level challenge for new teams but also an opportunity for experienced teams to fine-tune their vehicles. A valid result in this competition may be required for eligibility in Regional events.
- Regional competitions gather the best teams in a region for a highly competitive challenge, with a stricter selection process.
- World Championship Series: an exciting race combining energy efficiency and real-world speed, exclusive for teams in the Urban Concept category with the best results in the three Regional events in a season.
Virtual competitions – Remotely held global competitions in which teams can participate from anywhere in the world. With low-entry barriers, these competitions provide even more opportunities for teams to participate in the programme, and hone a wide variety of skills, from programming and computer simulation to communications and marketing.
There are two competitions related with autonomous technology, with one currently in development:
Autonomous Programming Competition – developed in partnership with Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), it is a result of consultation and feedback from teams around the world to offer an option that is accessible to more students, reducing financial barriers and emphasising more areas of STEM specialisms such as computer programming. In this competition, participants are challenged to develop control algorithms for a baseline simulated autonomous vehicle and then test it in a virtual environment.
Autonomous Urban Concept Competition (in development) – this competition is for teams to take their cars to the next level. Teams have to consider the application of autonomous technology to their Urban Concept vehicle in order to get through a series of challenges. We continue to develop this competition with a small group of dedicated teams.
Shell Eco-marathon is an academic educational programme. All teams wishing to enter must be affiliated with and endorsed by an educational institution. Independent research groups, private companies and other non-educational organizations are not eligible to take part in Shell Eco-marathon. To learn more about what types of educational institutions can participate, please refer to Article 2 of the Official Rules, Chapter I.
No. All Shell Eco-marathon competitions are and will always be free of charge!
Yes. To take part in any Shell Eco-marathon competition, virtual or on-track, students must be at least 16 years of age on the first day of competition. In some circumstances, 14- and 15-year-olds may be permitted to take part if relevant safety and supervision plans are agreed in advance with the Organisers.
Yes. At a minimum, your team manager and driver(s) must be able to speak English as they will be coordinating with the Organisers and receiving instructions during the competition.
Unfortunately, no. All members of a team must be enrolled in their academic institution at the time of the competition, be it virtual or on-track.
For virtual competitions, each team can register up to 20 team members.
For on-track events in 2022, should they take place, to ensure appropriate social distancing measures are followed, each team can register a maximum of 10 members. Refer to each competition page and its specific set of rules, Chapter II, once available for final confirmation of capacity and requirements for each venue.
A maximum of two vehicles per institution may be considered for any given Shell Eco-marathon event, granted they are of (i) different vehicle classes and (ii) different energy categories. This is valid for all regions.
No. Once you set up an account on the new registration system, your team will be assigned a new Team ID. You will not be required to know or submit your old Team ID for anything.
We keep results from the old team IDs on record, and actively keep a directory mapping the new team IDs with the old ones, ensuring that the results associated with your academic institute are preserved.
First, you need to present your project to your institution’s administration and obtain their endorsement for your participation in Shell Eco-marathon.
Second, gather a group of colleagues and a faculty advisor to plan and execute the actual project, adhering to the technical and safety requirements described in our Official Rules, Chapter I. You will need to define your vehicle class and energy category, and then design, build and test your car.
You may find the resources below helpful to understand what Shell Eco-marathon is all about:
- Read the Official Rules, Chapter I, the official governing rules of the competition globally.
- Watch the Technical Tips playlist – a series of videos highlighting the most important technical rules to be observed when designing and building your competition vehicle.
- Take a look at this open-source project developed by one of our most experienced teams in France; it is still a work in progress but already a great resource for new teams looking to build their very first Shell Eco-marathon Prototype vehicle. It includes a shopping list, most popular and economical materials, how to structure your team, how to keep an efficient schedule, and all sorts of tips and tricks to get your own project started.
- Join our closed Facebook group to stay up-to-date with everything that is happening, and connect with other teams in your area (Americas, Asia Pacific & the Middle East, Europe & Africa).
As stated in Article 2(m) of Chapter I, you can select names that are appropriate to your research, school, and Shell Eco-marathon. Names that are offensive or disrespectful to others who may be participating will not be allowed.
In addition to these requirements, some tips for choosing a good team name are:
- Do not include anything that is too specific, such as the registration year, your vehicle or energy type, as these may change over time and your team name will be quickly dated;
- Do not include your full school name, as it will be repetitive. Your team name will often be presented alongside your school name;
- Think long-term and try to come up with short, easy to pronounce names that can remain the same and will be memorable throughout the years.
Provided that your application meets all the requirements and your team is selected to compete, the Shell Eco-marathon Mini On-track events are open to all teams, new or experienced. You can attend one physical event in your home region at the Organisers’ discretion. Virtual competitions are also open to all teams and the number of virtual competitions each team can participate in is not limited.
You can join a closed Facebook group in your region (Americas, Asia Pacific & the Middle East, Europe & Africa), follow us and the hashtag #ShellEcoMarathon on Instagram and Twitter to see what the other teams are up to and find their accounts.
At Shell Eco-marathon, we are all about collaboration and we are proud to have a great community of participants and alumni that are always happy to share their experience with newcomers!
We are also aware of a desire from teams to have a more community owned channel of collaboration, and in the process of making this happen.
The Shell Eco-marathon team is available to answer your questions all year-round via e-mail and Facebook. You can:
No, each team is responsible for funding their own project, as well as any costs associated with their participation in Shell Eco-marathon, such as travel, accommodations, food etc.
It’s your choice, but it’s not a requirement. You are allowed to re-use the same vehicle and improve it year on year based on your learned experience. This may help control your team budget, enhance the reliability and ultimately the results of your vehicle on track.
The technical inspection is the last and most rigorous test before a team is allowed on the track! Most teams focus on the energy part of the vehicle, but first and foremost you should ensure to build a reliable vehicle. The body, chassis, steering system, and wheel axle play a significant part in your energy efficiency results.
You may also like
Shell Eco-marathon: Everything you need to know
Get the lowdown on Shell’s unique global student engineering programme
By Shell Eco-marathon Team
4 min read
Shell Eco-marathon Technical tips: Get them here
Find tips from our Global Technical Director to help you prepare for your event
By Shell Eco-marathon Team
3 min read