The 2011 Shell Eco-Marathon Americas, a competition that challenges high school and college students to design vehicles that travel using the least amount of energy, has expanded to include a new plug-in electric vehicle category. At next year's event, the fifth of its kind, plug-ins can enter the competition alongside hydrogen fuel cell and solar vehicles in the event's Electric-Mobility energy division. Entrants in the plug-in class are limited to fully electric vehicles that use lithium-ion batteries or something similar. Low-tech lead-acid designs are not allowed. Two teams have already registered to compete in the new category and more are expected to join in as the competition date draws near.

The full line-up of 2011 Shell Eco-marathon events includes:

  • Shell Eco-marathon Americas: April 14-17, 2011 in Houston, Texas
  • Shell Eco-marathon Europe: May 26-28, 2011 at the EuroSpeedway in Germany
  • Shell Eco-marathon Asia: July 6-9, 2011 at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia
Click here for more info on the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas. If you're interested in getting in on next year's competition, then you'll find full rules and registration information at Shell's Eco-marathon site.

[Source: Shell]

PRESS RELEASE

The 2011 Shell Eco-marathon Americas™ Kicks Off Fifth Year With the Addition of Plug-In Electric Vehicles


Registration Opens for Student Design Challenge to Discover Who Can go the Farthest Distance Using the Least Amount of Energy

HOUSTON, Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- For the fifth year in a row, high school, university, and college students from across North and South America are designing and testing their vehicles to get ready for the ultimate fuel efficiency challenge. Their goal? To see who can go the farthest distance using the least amount of energy in the 2011 Shell Eco-marathon Americas™, taking place April 14-17, 2011, on the streets of downtown Houston. To keep the Shell Eco-marathon competition challenging and relevant to current automotive and energy trends, the categories are expanding to include plug-in electric vehicles.

"For more than 25 years, the Shell Eco-marathon has been challenging students from across the globe to design and build energy efficient vehicles with the ultimate goal to see which team can go the farthest," said Mark Singer, Global Project Manager. "As registration opens for the fifth year of the Shell Eco-marathon Americas, Shell is excited to include plug-in vehicles and see how student teams will keep pushing the boundaries of fuel efficiency."

Two teams – one college and one high school – have already begun registering to compete in the plug-in electric vehicles category. "We have competed in several competitions over the last few years," said Michael Golub, student team manager from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Fairbanks, Alaska. "We think the fact that the Shell Eco-marathon Americas is expanding to include a plug-in electric category this year comes at time when our knowledge and experience of designing battery powered vehicles is really taking off!"

Travis Wood, student team manager for Pike Central High School's Electrified Chargers team in Petersburg, Ind. said, "Our team is absolutely crazy about different types of fuels and finding new solutions to help meet today's energy challenge. We're so excited to be participating in the 2011 Shell Eco-marathon Americas and building a plug-in electric vehicle. We signed up for plug-in electric category because we are fascinated with electricity and so excited to see what our vehicle can achieve on the track in April!"

Similar to last year, student teams are encouraged to participate in one or both of the "Prototype" and "Urban Concept" categories. The "Prototype" category invites student teams to enter futuristic prototypes – streamlined vehicles focused on maximizing fuel efficiency through innovative design elements, such as drag reduction. The "Urban Concept" category, introduced at the 2009 event, focuses on more "roadworthy" fuel-efficient vehicles. Aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers, these vehicles are closer in appearance to the higher-mileage cars seen on roads today. For both categories, teams can use any conventionally available energy source – including fuels such as diesel and gasoline as well as alternative fuels such as hydrogen, biomass, solar and, now, electric plug-in.

This year, plug-in electric vehicles can be entered alongside hydrogen fuel cells and solar vehicles in the Electric-Mobility energy division. To enter, the plug-in electric vehicle must be fully electric using lithium or similar type battery, therefore acid lead batteries are not permitted.

Registration for the 2011 Shell Eco-marathon Americas is now open. Interested teams are invited to sign-up for a chance to stake their claim in next year's challenge! For more information on all 2011 events across the globe, including official rules, instructions for registration and details on prizes, please visit the Shell Eco-marathon Web site at www.shell.com/ecomarathon.

The Shell Eco-marathon began in 1939 at a Shell research laboratory in the United States as a friendly wager between scientists to see who could get the most miles per gallon from their vehicle. The winner of that contest barely achieved 50 mpg (21 km/l), and from these humble origins, a more organized competition evolved. In 1985 in France, the Shell Eco-marathon as we know it today was born. In April 2007, the Shell Eco-marathon Americas event was launched in the United States, and in 2010, the inaugural Shell Eco-marathon Asia was held in Malaysia.

The full line-up of 2011 Shell Eco-marathon events includes:

* 5th Shell Eco-marathon Americas: April 14-17, 2011, on a street track around the Discovery Green in Houston, Texas
* 28th Shell Eco-marathon Europe: May 26-28, 2011, at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz track in Germany
* 2nd Shell Eco-marathon Asia: July 6-9, 2011, at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Shell Oil Company, including its consolidated companies and its share in equity companies, is one of America's leading oil and natural gas producers, natural gas marketers, gasoline marketers and petrochemical manufacturers. Shell, a leading oil and gas producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, is a recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production technology. Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Shell Group, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies, employing approximately 112,000 people and operating in more than 130 countries and territories.

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