Two engineers hold wheel parts

Track-based competitions have been the cornerstone of Shell Eco-marathon for decades. Here’s how they work:

1. Choose from two types of car

First of all, teams choose whether to design a Prototype or an Urban Concept car.

  • Prototype: This vehicle type has the potential to push boundaries in energy efficiency. Working within the rules, teams will consider size and weight, and how to make it as streamlined and aerodynamic as possible.
  • Urban Concept: Designed for teams to consider city driving, these cars are closer to passenger cars in appearance. They must be built to consider human needs such as driver comfort and space for luggage, and to more road-worth specifications including four wheels and a windscreen wiper. It’s a challenge for teams to create maximum energy efficiency with these added mandatory elements included.

2. Choose the energy category

Teams have a choice of energy types, engines or motors to power their car reflecting the real world need for a mosaic of energy options to power transport. Teams will need to innovate new ways to use the least amount of their chosen energy category, providing an opportunity for students to work with traditional fuels that we commonly see on our road today, such as gasoline, and newer energies such as hydrogen that some countries are seeing more of. The current energy categories are:

  • Internal Combustion Engine:
    • Gasoline
    • Diesel
    • Ethanol
  • Electric Vehicle
    • Battery Electric
    • Hydrogen Fuel Cell

3. Hit all design and build milestones

During the design and build process, there are a number of milestones teams must hit before they are eligible to compete at an event. Spaces are limited and competition is fierce so it is crucial that teams read the Official Rules, Chapter I thoroughly to get through each stage.

4. One final test

Teams who make it to their Shell Eco-marathon competition have one final hurdle before they can get on track to compete: Technical Inspection. Here, the Shell Eco-marathon Technical Team probes critical aspects of each vehicle at individual stations, while inspecting safety features and adherence to the Shell Eco-marathon Official Rules

The stakes are high for teams – they won’t be allowed on track without passing Technical Inspection, and for some teams, the results of Technical Inspection can also mean pass or fail for their university courses.

5. Compete on track!

There’s only one thing left to do once teams have designed their cars and passed the Technical Inspection: put the vehicles to the test on the track at a Shell Eco-marathon event.

Find out more information on competitions.

Engineers work on car

Shell Eco-marathon rules

For a comprehensive look into the rules and regulations, you can access all the latest documents here:

Read the Shell Eco-marathon rules

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