Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1
  • Shell Eco-marathon 2013 Americas: Day 1

The Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013 kicked off in Houston, TX this morning with a twist on the usual: Ladies and gentlemen, start your fuel-efficient engines. The area around Discovery Green was buzzing with high school and college students, all here with one mission: go as far as possible on as little fuel as possible. Last year, the winning team in the internal combustion category got 2,564.8 miles per gallon. That's quite an increase since the first Eco-marathon back in 1939, when the winner of a bet between two Shell engineers managed to get 49.72 mpg.

But today wasn't for competition. Not yet. Instead, it was a day for getting ready, with teams passing safety inspections, taking test runs around the urban track (the event takes place downtown) and making lots of last-minute modifications. We saw hacksaws, drills and hammers all being used with abandon around the paddock. Seeing a group of high school students cheer when their car's brakes worked, for instance, is something we just don't see everyday. Tomorrow, the competition really gets started, but we could feel the tension building today.

There are over 120 teams fielding 140 different vehicles in this year's Eco-marathon. Most of them are powered by gasoline or batteries (62 and 43, respectively). The rest of the powertrains use diesel (11), hydrogen (11), 100-percent ethanol (8) of 100-percent Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (5). The 140 vehicles are divided into two categories, "prototype" and "urban concept." You can investigate all the teams at the Eco-marathon site here and stay tuned for more coverage throughout the weekend. If there's any team you'd like us to check out, let us know in the comments below. Oh, and there also some Shell promotional videos below.

Now, we'll be delving into the PR stunt vs. real-world value of the Shell Eco-marathon debate in future posts, but for now we cannot let this post go to press without a mention of the area's recent oil spill. It wasn't big, as far as oil spills go, but 50 barrels (2,100 gallons) of crude spilled from a Shell pipeline into the Vince Bayou, which connects to the Houston Ship Channel and the Gulf of Mexico this week. In Eco-marathon terms, that's a lot – enough fuel to move a vehicle like a bazillion miles.





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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a lot of miserable, negative comments ! Shell have sponsored these events world wide for many years. Sure, most of the vehicles are not very realistic, or practical, some are downright dangerous ! But that not the point, the point is that it's a terrific opportunity for students, enthusiasts to get together and understand the challenges of engineering, energy, technology, and event production and marking of personal transport. Hopefully, these students will make friends, exchange idea's with others around the world, and form the principles that will advance their education and prove valuable in future careers. Shell is to be commended for its 70+ years of association with this event. Oil is the energy of an era drawing to a close. Replacement and conservation of what remains, lies with the inventiveness of future generations.
        Giza Plateau
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        It hasn't run for 70 years. The only thing miserable here is Shell and you. Why do you always feel a need to side with douche corporations who have the worst ethics track record? What impact has this competition had on the world of cars? and wasn't electric drive banned in the competition until a couple of years ago?
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          @ DF/ Giza "since the first Eco-marathon back in 1939, when the winner of a bet between two Shell engineers managed to get 49.72 mpg." !939 to 2013 is 74 years ! Now let's see which is better ? Hmmmm... a world-wide competition attended by thousands of potential engineers of tomorrow, or a misanthropic little troll, grumbling away in his bedroom with delusions of grandeur, who's never done anything of any value?
          Giza Plateau
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          Two engineers competing privately without anybody knowing about it doesn't count. And try to find reports from events in the following years. It seems to start in 1977 triggered by a Finnish event in 1976 And Shell deserves only to burn in hell for its crimes.
        EVnerdGene
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marcopolo
        1939 http://www.shell.com/global/environment-society/ecomarathon/about/history.html 74 years Yeah, I wish they had a big kids class. Of course it would soon get crazy with $$$$$$$ (like Nascar and such), to the point that it would be impossible to do it just for fun.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Type your comment herea passage from a forthcoming book 'Sustainability: Key Issues' that relates to eco-marathon initiatives (and some broader concerns). Today, we are all familiar with the concept of eco-efficiency through initiatives such as Shell’s eco-marathon are well known. The idea is to build a motor that would consume as little fuel as possible. The ideas of eco-efficiency and its discontents are explored in greater detail in chapters…. In regard to eco-efficiency, the idea of doing more with less, its history can be traced to the early industrial products, in which less material, less labor, less harmful substances were gradually used to produce more volume of goods. Today, we are all familiar with the concept of eco-efficiency through initiatives such as Shell’s eco-marathon are well known. The idea is to build a motor that would consume as little fuel as possible. The ideas of eco-efficiency and its discontents are explored in greater detail in chapters…. The eco-efficiency approach was criticized in proponents of Cradle to Cradle framework and circular economy. One of them is the closed-loop or circular economy, emerging from industrial symbiosis or industrial ecology. The term circular economy encompasses more than the production and consumption of goods and services, including a shift from towards renewable energy and the role of diversity as a characteristic of resilient and productive systems. This framework was later adopted by American architect William McDonough and the German chemist Michael Braungart (2002). The idea behind the critique of the current system is that we use chemicals and produce toxic waste that harms us and the environment. This alternative framework criticizes sustainability defined in terms of eco-efficiency as it is seen as enable the bad system to last longer. The application of this idea at an economic level has risen to prominence since the World Economic Forum (WEF 2012) and propelled forward by the reports by Ellen MacArthur Foundation and other initiatives stimulated by both government and business stakeholders. Basically – to use Shell’s example – the sustainability initiatives such as eco-marathon can be criticized on two accounts. First, oil is Shell’s core business and it causes problems ranging from climate change to skewed geo-political relationships and dependency on ‘oil states’ and thus is fundamentally unsustainable. If the car motors become more efficient, that would imply that a bad product would last longer, and no fundamental change to alternative sources of energy will be made.
      Reggie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Death traps galore, every single one of them. 1,000 mile electric Range Rover on Autoblog the other day seems more like a real world car, but its still a tad to expensive for most. But Range Rovers have never been cheap anyway.
        Actionable Mango
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Reggie
        Here's how it works in the USA: Deathtrap with four wheels: Too dangerous, must ban! Deathtrap with two wheels: Good to go!
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe a hybrid gasoline-water vapor electric would be efficient. You heat some water with the exhaust then you spin an electric generator with the heat and vapor.
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      You are so clever o evil one. Tell me how many cars Ralph Nader has built.
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dan-mobiles! Except they existed decades before Dan "invented" them, and they don't really work on public roads.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        @ PeterScott If they were " Danmobiles ", they wouldn't exist !
        Giza Plateau
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        Peter, those are not danmobiles, that's just your poor discernment talking. Those are very small and low to the ground. None of those are intended to be practical or drive on the road. That is part of why this even is a joke and nothing relevant ever comes of it. This is the original danmobile http://www.zev.dk/images/montage.jpg And there are none like it anywhere. The closest is the Renault Twizy which may have been inspired by the danmobile. But I'm not limited to a single type. This is a different danmobile http://www.zev.dk/design/Speedster.jpg so configured not because it is the least energy consuming but because it's a lot closer to what people are accustomed to and would accept.
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          bluepongo1 We've turned into a bunch of pvssies. Build them to drive, not to wreck. Some feel the need to be surrounded in 4000 pounds of steel, with climate-controlled, leather-lined interior - so they can comfortably and safely talk and text on their cellphones while driving like a-holes. And others sit on top of an 800 pound Hardleys while trying to avoid a-holes in big boxes, not concentrating on the road. There's got to be something in between that makes much more sense.
          bluepongo1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          @ Giza Either way ( I looked at the links.) , good luck with the crash tests and meeting modern safety standards( I don't think any one I know would be a passenger in that first one.) .
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        ^-- hey, another ebiker. right on. Agree with all the sentiments expressed, 'cept cars will never go away. In imperfect climates, people will always want an air conditioned or heated bubble. How 'bout something that doesn't weigh 1.5 tons though :)
          PeterScott
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I would really like to see a new vehicle class introduced for lighter weight, half lane vehicles. Like covered electric bikes and things like the Toyota I-road. You could officially split some lanes and double up on the traffic they could carry in cities. But such things will never pan out if they need to have bumper meant to survive impacts with SUVs.
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          2WM 1.5 tons is a lightweight car nowadays. Good news is; the 2017-2025 CAFE standards will force cars to lose weight. Bad news is; the standards are written versus vehicle footprint. So hummer-sized FUVs and such will have much lower standards. Soooo, does that mean FUVs will be getting even bigger so they won't have to meet such low MPG standards? can't make this stuff up - yet more insanity we've come to expect from WDC
        Warren
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        There are lots of electric Dan-mobiles on the roads today. They work just fine. They are classed as electric assist bikes, and trikes. I have 8341 miles on mine, at 11 Wh/mile or 3,063.6 MPGe. I have waited my whole life to see cars rot in hell, but thanks to fracking, that won't happen.
          Warren
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Warren
          Yes. Physically separate lanes is the only answer at this point. It exists in some counties. Otherwise we are all held hostage to the person with the biggest vehicle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8taP4ZxpCqU&feature=youtu.be I doubt there will ever be public support in the US, but who knows. I once thought that about public smoking.
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