What began as a wager between a group of scientists who worked for Shell in 1939, who challenged one another to drive the furthest distance on the least amount of fuel possible, is known today as Shell Eco-marathon. After officially launching in 1985, Shell Eco-marathon has become a world-leading competition that invites high school and university students to design and build energy efficient vehicles that meet a specified set of criteria.

Teams can choose to compete in two vehicle classes:

1. Urban Concept: vehicles that have familiar road car features (always 4 wheels)
2. Prototype: ultra-efficient, lightweight vehicles (generally 3 wheels)

Teams must then choose between three energy categories:

1. Internal Combustion Engine (gasoline, ethanol)
2. Battery Electric
3. Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Teams are predominantly comprised of a variety of engineering disciplines, from mechanical to environmental, to software. Shell Eco-marathon is the ultimate opportunity to put what they’ve learned in the classroom into practice, with the chance to iterate their approach year-over-year through the course of their studies.

“Inviting bright, young people to take on the challenge of designing efficient low-carbon transportation solutions is what will progress our industry for the long-term. Shell Eco-marathon provides a platform to think big and get hands-on to implement potentially ground-breaking solutions,” says Susannah Pierce, President & Country Chair, Shell Canada.

The Competition

Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2023 took place in April at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where teams from Canada, the United States and Mexico squared off to put their designs to the test for the chance to compete at the World Championship in Bangalore, India.

This year, Canada was well-represented with a total of 11 teams participating from the following schools:

  • Northern Collegiate High School, Sarnia, ON
  • Université de Laval, Quebec, QUE
  • Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QUE
  • University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
  • University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON
  • University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon, SK
  • University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

The Results

Before they are allowed to compete on the track, Urban Concept vehicles need to pass a series of 13 technical inspections. For some, the only goal is getting through this test. Many never even make it that far.

Congratulations to SaskEco UC, from Saskatchewan Polytechnic who not only passed technical inspection, but won first place in the Urban Concept category, Internal Combustion Engine, and third in the Prototype category, Battery-Electric. Their first-place win qualifies the team to compete at the upcoming Shell Eco-marathon World Championship Series!

See the full list of results here.