While some students are out of school, whiling away the dog days of summer, six teams from the US and Canada will be going on the ride of their lives as they compete against teams from Europe and Asia in the Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship (DWC) happening after Shell Eco-marathon Europe which is a part of Make the Future London being held this weekend at the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, UK.

How does the competition work?

  • 24 teams compete in 3 semi-final heats of 8 teams.
  • The top 2 finishers from each heat + 2 best runners-up will progress to the final race.
  • 3 energy classes (Internal combustion, battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell).
  • Speed limit 60 kph max.

On July 3rd, the best UrbanConcept vehicles from Shell Eco-marathon Asia, Americas and Europe come together, for the first time in the competition’s 30-year history, in the same location, to compete in an exciting race to see who is the most energy-efficient driver. The Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship marks an important step in the evolution of Shell Eco-marathon as one of the most important student mobility and innovation challenges to date.


Check out the teams and vehicles competing from the US and Canada below and send some well wishes in the comments!

University of Alberta [Canada]

University of Alberta Students

Edmonton, AB

Category: UrbanConcept

Fuel: Hydrogen

SEM Americas 2016 record: 40.6 m/kWh, 1st place, UrbanConcept Hydrogen category

Quick Facts:

  • Participated in SEM Americas for past 5 years.
  • This team of over 40 members speaks Hungarian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Russian, German and Hindi.
  • They have a custom made fuel cell controller which acts as the brains of the entire fuel cell system. It controls how much hydrogen feeds to the fuel cell when the car is moving, all safety systems and provides the driver with a system status. It also communicates with other sensors and electrical systems.
  • They won’t be competing in the official race but will take their vehicle to the track to measure against European teams. They implemented an eco-boost system and major weight reductions. They also installed a camera so the team can see the driver and the car moving forward, as well as a live feed of the fuel cell to improve efficiency. For safety, they’ve implemented a remote cut off/stop system, so they can shut off the vehicle while it is on the track.
  • They are the only team to represent Canada this year at DWC.
  • Visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/uofaecocar or www.ualberta-ecocar.ca.

Mater Dei High School

Evansville, Indiana

Category: UrbanConcept

Fuel: Gasoline

Vehicle name: Elroy

SEM Americas 2016 record: 793 miles per gallon (mpg), 1st place, UrbanConcept Gasoline category

Follow them on their journey in London via their Facebook page here.

Quick Facts:

  • Participated in SEM Americas for past 10 years and consistently places high in competition.
  • All team members are interested in cars, electrical and engineering careers. 
  • A new vehicle is built each year to replace the old one – the steering wheel and speedometers are made by a 3D printer.
  • The team provides assistance for other schools and when a Detroit team was missing a spark plug and kill switch, the team provided them with a new one.
  • This is an extracurricular activity and the team works four hours/week and 2-3 hours/day one month before the annual competition.
  • For many on the team, this is their first time to leave the US.

Alden-Conger High School

Alden, Minnesota

Category: UrbanConcept

Fuel: Diesel

Vehicle name: All American

SEM Americas 2016 record: 525 miles per gallon (mpg), 1st place – UrbanConcept, Diesel

Quick Facts:

  • Participated in SEM Americas for past 6 years.
  • 3 members plan to pursue mechanical engineering.
  • SEM helps team member achieve goal of producing energy efficient cars that put less pollutants into the air.
  • For many of the team members, it is their first time to travel outside of the US.
  • They hope to gain inspiration from European teams for new vehicle designs.

Saint Thomas Academy

Mendota Heights, Minnesota

Category: UrbanConcept

Fuel: Battery Electric

Vehicle name: The Charlie Taylor Experience

SEM Americas 2016 record: 53 mi/kWH, 1st place in UrbanConcept, Battery Electric category

Quick Facts:

  • The school always builds a new car from scratch so students gain the complete engineering experience of preparing and evaluating performance.
  • Many students said this program helped decide their career choices. Former students have gone on to study engineering at Purdue, Duke, Notre Dame, Rose-Hulman, Stanford and other schools.
  • For half of the team and the team advisor, this is their first time going abroad.
  • For London, they changed the gearing for higher speed, so the car can reach 30 miles per hour (mph).
  • Learn more about the team at http://www.facebook.com/staEVT

Newburgh Free Academy

Newburgh, NY

Category: UrbanConcept

Fuel: Battery Electric

Vehicle name: Soaring Eagle

SEM Americas 2016 record: 30 mi/kWH, 2nd place in UrbanConcept, Battery Electric category

Quick Facts:

  • There are 13 team members, ranging from freshmen to seniors.
  • One student built the entire chassis because he wants to pursue welding.
  • They also have a Prototype, Diesel vehicle that took top prize in 2016 at 525 mpg.
  • They kept failing on the track in Detroit but in the last hour, they were able to get a valid run to qualify for the Drivers’ World Championship in London.
  • To prepare for London, they made the vehicle more aerodynamic including chassis modifications.
  • This is the team’s first time traveling abroad.

University of Illinois

Urbana, Illinois

Category: UrbanConcept

Fuel: Hydrogen Fuel Cell

SEM Americas 2016 record: Passed technical inspection.

Quick Facts:

  • Participated in SEM Americas for past 5 years.
  • All 25 members are engineering majors including four females.
  • Team members have interned at energy and automotive companies with a heavy interest in alternative fuels development among the entire team.
  • Only team to pass technical inspection for UrbanConcept, Hydrogen category.
  • They are going to London as a spectators and will not compete with their vehicle.

Shell Eco-marathon Americas will return to Detroit and Cobo Center for a third consecutive year on April 28-30, 2017. Get more info here​

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