Now in its third year, the competition challenges Asia’s brightest young minds to create innovative vehicles of the future that push the boundaries of fuel-efficiency and energy conservation.
By the time the competition ended on July 7, the record for longest distance on one litre of fuel had been broken by Thai team Luk Jao Mae Khlong Prapa, who topped their own 2011 performance with a remarkable mileage of 2,903 kilometres on just one litre of ethanol.
The team achieved a 30 per cent improvement over their previous record by making several changes to their 2011 car design, that included a change of engine, air-fuel ratio, and driving strategy.
This year’s competition also attracted more students than the last two years since the Asian wing of the Eco-Marathon has been held – with 119 teams participating from all over the continent and a total crowd of over 1,500 students and visitors.
There were a total of 31 awards handed out at the close of the ceremony for first and second prizes in different categories, as well as for off-track achievements such as team spirit and eco-design awards. You can see the full awards from all the teams here.
Pakistani teams were not able to get any awards this year, and many technical problems combined with tough competition in the tracks left them short of winning results.
In spite of Pakistan’s lack of prizes, this was probably the best year for them overall, as it saw most teams competing successfully until the last stages of the competition, tackling problems that occurred in the pits as well as on the track.
In the last two competitions, Pakistani teams had found it difficult to pass the safety tests in order to reach the track and set a valid distance on the score-card. This year most of them passed their tests, and five of them went on to complete their laps and set a distance on the score-card of the competition. These teams came from different universities and represented different parts of the country, such as Pak Octane, a team from Hitec University in Taxila, who had a Galosline Prototype car and got a result of 119 Km/l after their successful run.
Not all the teams were able to do successful runs however: Team Hammerhead, from GIK were one of the best teams from Pakistan, however compounded trouble with valves, brakes and other areas resulted in an interrupted final run, which to the team’s disappointment, was initially going well.
“It was the last run we could have done because time was running out, we had a great mileage until we had problems with the engine and had to stop” said Shams Mawji, their team leader.
The major issues that Pakistani teams faced with their cars were not unique to their contingent; however their lack of resources sometimes held them behind.
“The other teams come prepared with all the spare parts from their countries, they bring extra engines, and brakes and such.” Said Nauman Ahmed, a Shell Team mentor “The Pakistani teams cannot afford that, and then when a part fails or something needs to be replaced, they don’t even know where and how they can procure these parts in Malaysia.”
These problems, combined with the lack of overall financial or structural backing that these teams had, resulted in some hard-working teams falling just short of targets because of problems teams were not equipped to solve.
“You see the problem is, we have sponsors, however they tend to come into the picture a bit late,” says Abid Ibrahim, GM External Affairs at Shell, “in other countries the sponsors come in right in the beginning and they are able to fund all the research and expensive equipment that the teams need to develop their car.”