Students are highly motivated. Many hope to one day work in the automotive and energy industries. Their goal is simple: to drive the farthest distance, over a closed downtown course, using the least amount of energy. Of course, setting a new record in the shadows of storied automotive headquarters, where mobility’s future is being shaped, would be icing on the cake.
Students work hard – often nights, weekends and holidays -- tuning their designs and building their concept cars. Event organizers are working long hours, too. More than a year of preparation has already gone into this move from Houston to Detroit.
The economic and reputation impact of four days’ events attracting visitors and interest from around the world is immense. Another, more visible, benefit is the improvement to city street surfaces where the students will drive their low-slung, futuristic vehicles. Shell’s $450,000 investment in the streets around Cobo Center, through Campus Martius, and historic Woodward Avenue, will smooth downtown driving for Detroit residents as well. Improved streets also create a safer place for crowds to watch and cheer the teams on.
Local civic and business leaders, including famed racing team owner Roger Penske, embraced and followed the annual competition long before Shell selected Detroit to host it.
"We are excited that Shell chose Detroit to host its 2015 global competition," says Mayor Mike Duggan. "Not only is Shell bringing global attention to our city, it is further showing its commitment to Detroit by investing in improvements to several of the streets that will be a part of the Eco-Marathon route. We appreciate the benefits Shell's partnership is bringing to Detroit."
Many in the region hope Shell Eco-marathon Americas encourages people to give Detroit another look, and attracts future talent to the US automotive businesses that call it home.