|Photo Credit: Royal Dutch Shell plc|
There is always something to learn in this world. With every decade, the automobile has been both a product of our lessons and sometimes a teacher for what we personally expect from transportation. In 2016, the study into maximizing the amount of distance we can travel on a tank of gasoline continues to encourage revelations in life's classroom. This weekend between April 22nd and April 24th, Detroit operates as a school lab for young, technical explorers to test the lengths that could be travelled while expelling the least amount of energy.
A total of 128 teams made up of over 1,000 students have arrived in Detroit, Michigan this weekend to maximize the efficiency of a modern self-propelled vehicle. Small gasoline and diesel engines, battery-powered electric motors, as well as vehicles utilizing compressed natural gas, ethanol and hydrogen will be tested in the 10th annual Shell Eco-marathon Americas. Coinciding with Earth day weekend, the object of the competition among young engineers and designers is to achieve the highest fuel economy possible. In previous Shell Eco-marathon Americas events, the mileage potential has amounted to almost 100 times more than a conventional passenger car.
Almost 100 teams are competing in the 2016 event with several reams contributing multiple entries. While the resounding amount of entries are from teams of United States high schools and universities (including Penn State University, Purdue University of Indiana, Louisiana Tech University and North Carolina's Duke University), the entire North American and South American continents are well-represented this weekend. Six teams arrive in Detroit from Brazil while the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and Ecuador are also being supported by entries at the 2016 Shell Eco-marathon Americas. Other than the United States, the nation contributing the most entries to the education-oriented fuel economy challenge has come from Canada. A total of 17 teams representing 13 university/college campuses and one from a high school are wearing the red and white across the border.
For the 2016 Shell Eco-marathon Americas, the following Canadian institutions are being represented:
· Concordia University: Competing in the gasoline-powered Prototype category as Concordia SAE Racing with the Concordia Supermileage.
· Dalhousie University: The Nova Scotia university is fielding Prototype class 'The Stig' under the Sexton Supermilers team banner.
· École de technologie Supérieure: Under the team name Evolution Supermileage, the Montreal, Quebec-based Evo VI is a participant in the Prototype category.
· Lambton College: The Notbmal Prototype category is fielded the team Control Freaks from Sarnia, Ontario
· Mohawk College: Batttery-electric power propels the Mohawk Supermileage Team entry called the Hamilton Volta.
· Northern Collegiate: The lone high school entry from Canada, Sarnia, Ontario's Team Northern is involved in the Prototype class competing with the gasoline-powered ROVER.
· Queen’s University: Queen's University is competing with two teams in 2016. Queen's Eco-Vehicle Team is running a gasoline-powered Prototype called Miles and Queen's Fuel Cell Team is competing with Alan, a hydrogen-powered machine.
· Université de Sherbrooke: The Sherbrooke, Quebec Beyond team has entered the 2016 Shell Eco-marathon Americas with a battery-powered vehicle called La Fendeuse.
· Universite Laval: Laval entrants for 2016 arrive with a strong linage. In 2013, a team from the university travelled 3,587 miles per gallon in an effort that still stands as a record. Alérion Supermileage is fielding the CT 2.0 Prototype class vehicle this year.
· University of Alberta: One of two Canadian universities entered in the UrbanConcept group, the University of Alberta EcoCar Team is running a hydrogen-fuelled machine. The name of the vehicle is Alice.
· University of British Columbia: Competing in the UrbanConcept and the Prototype classes for 2016, the two teams of University of British Columbia are called UBC Supermileage Team and UBC Supermileage Team (Prototype). The UrbanConcept car is the Zoticus while the university's gasoline-powered Mark X represents the Prototype effort.
· University of Ottawa: The Supermileage uOttawa team is running a gasoline-powered Prototype category entry called Jaws II.
· University of Toronto: Defending a 2015 victory when an entry achieved a 3,421 mile per gallon fuel economy run, the University of Toronto has two teams. University of Toronto Supermileage is competing with a gasoline-powered UT4 while the University of Toronto Supermileage V2.0 is fielding the electric UT5.
· University of Waterloo: The battery-electric Javelin 2 is a Prototype class car entered by UWEMC.
Against what is certain to be some innovative and resourceful efforts, the Canadian teams is certain to be facing tough competition. With past success as well as the dedication from the teams this year, we should be proud as a nation for the outcome of their achievements following the 2016 Shell Eco-marathon Americas.