PHL-hosted Shell Eco-Marathon Asia 2015 attracts 127 student teams and 127 cars vying for honors (Philippines News Agency)

Shell EcoMarathon Asia 2015 opened its second Philippinehosted festivities with color and high energy under sunny skies right at the other side of the Rizal (Luneta) Park on Friday by welcoming over 120 teams from 17 countries, including newcomers Australia, Bangladesh, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The first crucial morning hours saw tiny cars that looked they could not fit in a skinny person of more than 95pound cruise on the enclosed streets to the delight of viewers and media.
The day’s casualty during the flagoff was car No. 212 of Malaysia, which refused to budge after a few feet from the starting line. It was pulled off to the shoulder for about 15 minutes before it was able to continue what must have been an arduous journey to the end.
The most cheered teams came from Japan and Australia. Cheers were aplenty with small flags waving vigorously amidst umbrellas from each country representative.
Actress, TV host Bianca GonzalesIntal had to wait for some precious minutes to allow Department of Energy Undersecretary Zeny Maglaya to don her riding suit before speeding away in her small car while gathering cheers along the way.
Ms Intal was last year’s Celebrity Driver Champion and has won driving plaudits for the country in other foreign jousts.
Overall, student competitors from Asia, Middle East and Africa are out to build fuel efficient vehicles to test the streets of Manila with innovation, mobility and creativity of drivers on Shell’s EcoMarathon sixth Asian edition.
Winners are determined by the mileage achieved on a liter of fuel rather than speed in a testfield environment
Last year’s battle saw “Team How Much Ethanol” from Panjavidhya Technological College Thailand on how to drive 2.730 kilometers on a liter of ethanol with equivalent distance of Manila to Jakarta, Indonesia.
Competing this time on home turf are 29 teams from the Philippines’ top engineering schools as they raced alongside students from universities, colleges and technical institutes across 16 other countries; including the four debuting squads this year
Students have participated in the Prototype or UrbanConcept/ The Prototype category have seen students entering cars of the future or streamlined vehicles focused on maximizing fuel efficiency through innovative design elements such as drag reduction.
The Urban Concept focused more on “roadworthy” fuel efficient vehicles. However, the real goal of both is on higher mileage achievement on all roads for the 120 vehicle entrants.
The participating teams and their respective number of teams are Australia (2), Bangladesh (1), Brunei Darussalam (4), Egypt (4), India (11), Indonesia (23), Japan (1), Malaysia (14), Oman (3),Pakistan (6), Philippines (29), Qatar (2), Saudi Arabia (2), Singapore (3), Thailand (10), United Arab Emirates (3), and Viet Nam(9 for a total of 127).
The competition carries a prize money of USD 2,000 and USD 1,000 for winners and runnersup in both the Prototype and UrbanConcept On Track awards categories. In addition, teams also had the chance to win six Off Track awards on communications, vehicle design, technical innovation, safety, perseverance and Spirit of the Event and Shell Helix Tribology award, which recognizes student teams that demonstrate use of lubrication engineering methods to improve fuel efficiency results
More than 300 delegates from government, business and civil society gathered also to discuss challenges on potential solutions regarding global energy, water and food resources
Shell Eco Marathon Asia 2015 was held in partnership with the Philippine government, the Department of Tourism, the City of Manila and the National Parks and Development Council while the private sector was represented by Coca Cola, FEMSA Philippines, Globe Business, Nestle Philippines, Unilever Philippines, Hyundai, SEA Olympus and Isla LPG Corp.
The global partners were Hewlett Packard, Michelin, The Linde Group and the Southwest Research Center.
Additional attraction to the occasion is the educational exhibits that explore the look of the future cities worldwide. Another is the Fact or Fiction Challenge which is interactive myth busting demonstration and celebrity driving challenge.
Awarding of prizes will be on March 1 at the Manila Hotel’s Fiesta Pavilion.(PNA)RMA/LOR