In a few short weeks, a broad spectrum of audiences will convene in Detroit, Michigan, April 21-24, 2016. Together they will participate in four days of activities designed to address how society can use human ingenuity, technology, collaboration and pragmatism to learn about, discuss and act on the energy transition.

Shell Eco-marathon Americas is one of three events of an annual global series and brings together:

  • High school and university teams (approx. 129 teams) from Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and the U.S. competing in the Mileage Challenge;
  • Thought leaders, Shell business representatives, government officials, academics and local business leaders at Powering Progress Together; and,
  • Residents and visitors to Detroit, including over 6,000 schoolchildren, to the Shell Eco-marathon Experience.

It’s more than going over 3,587 mpg

Yes, 3,587 miles per gallon (mpg) is the current Americas record held by Université Laval; however, last year a nail-biting drama unfolded and included a last-minute win from the University of Toronto edging out their Canadian rival with a run of 3,421 miles per gallon. Laval finished with a respectable 3,365 mpg and still holds the all-time record for the competition in the Americas. After designing, building and testing their UrbanConcept or Prototype vehicles for nearly a year, the mileage challenge is the teams’ final chance to make their vehicle “roadworthy” and to achieve ultimate energy efficiency (see last year’s results here) on the downtown Detroit street circuit. While the actual event comes and goes, planning, fundraising and participating in external activities continue year-round.

Following the 2015 event, the University of Michigan team showcased their vehicle to crowds at the Detroit Grand Prix. In June, the 2015 winning team, the University of Toronto, headed west to be a part of the Shell V-Power NiTRO + Fuel Launch at Jay Leno’s Garage and enjoyed a private tour by the man himself.

Maybe you saw the two TV commercials featuring teams from Duke University (go behind-the-scenes ) and Northern Illinois University showcasing the future scientists and engineers? “Yes, the teams participate in the event itself, but there’s so much more to being a contender than building a vehicle,” explained Shell Eco-marathon Americas General Manager Pam Rosen. “As the months go on, all of these student teams balance the heavy weight of school work and life with the add-ons of designing, building and testing their vehicle plus fundraising, attracting media attention to grow local support, practicing safety values and much, much more.”