The Eco-marathon Europe was held as part of the first Make the Future London festival, which was conceived to celebrate innovations that are helping to tackle the global energy challenge. It is the first time that the Eco-marathon Europe has been held in London, in the 30-plus years that it has been running.
Taking part were more than 200 student teams from 29 countries, each of which had designed, built and tested vehicles aimed at being able to travel the farthest using the least amount of fuel. The vehicles were run on a 2.2-km (1.4-mi) track that was specially designed to give the teams more challenges to consider in trying to maximize efficiency.
As ever, teams were entered into two main on-track categories. The aim for vehicles in the Prototype category is to chase down fuel efficiency at the expense of everything else, while the UrbanConcept category requires that vehicles be more practical and similar to what might be driven on a day-to-day basis. Each category is further broken down by fuel type.
The vehicle built by the overall winning team, Microjoule-La Joliverie, was powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). It achieved an efficiency of 2,606.4 km/l (6,130.6 mpg), breaking the record for a CNG-powered vehicle in the process. This is especially notable given that previous events were run on a flat course, rather than a specially-design undulating course.
The other winners in the Prototype category were as follows:
- Shell FuelSave Gasoline Prize: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS Centre de Formation Technique, France 2,300.1 km/l (5,410.2 mpg)
- Shell FuelSave Diesel Prize: I.U.T Valenciennes, France 1,018.2 km/l (2,394 mpg)
- Hydrogen Fuel Cell Prize: Politecnico Di Torino, Italy 737 km/kWh (458 mi/kWh)
- Battery-electric Prize: I.E.S Cotes Baixes, Spain 747.2 km/kWh (464.3 mi/kWh)
- Alternative Fuel Prize (E100 +GTL): Unversitat Miguel Hernandez D'Elx, Spain 1,555.9 km/l (3,659.7 mpg)
Meanwhile, the winners in the UrbanConcept category were:
- Shell FuelSave Gasoline Prize: Lycee Louis Delage, France 445.7 km/l (1,048.34 mpg)
- Shell FuelSave Diesel Prize: University of Applied Sciences Offenburg, Germany 249.2 km/l (586.2 mpg)
- Hydrogen Fuel Cell Prize: Polytech Nantes, France 389.3 km/kWh (241.9 mi/kWh)
- Battery Electric Prize: ISEN Toulon, France 180.1 km/kWh (111.9 mi/kWh)
- Alternative Fuel Prize (E100 +GTL): HE-Arc Ingenierie, Switzerland 346.8 km/l (815.7 mpg)
This year's event also saw the introduction of the Drivers' World Championship – a head-to-head race competed by the 2016 UrbanConcept category winners from North America, Asia and Europe to find the quickest and most energy-efficient driver. The inaugural race was won by Universitas Pendidikan from Indonesia. The team has won a week's training with Scuderia Ferrari in Maranello, Italy, at which members will meet the Formula 1 team and receive coaching on how to improve their technology.
In addition to the on-track accolades, five off-track awards were also presented. The technical innovation award went to Prometheus of the National Technical University Of Athens in Greece, for its vehicle's sophisticated and near-autonomous driving control system. This allows the driver to push a button and have the car navigate its way around the track as efficiently as possible, using GPS and other force-detection technologies.
An award was given in each category for vehicle design. In the Prototype category, H2politO from Politecnico Di Torino in Italy was recognized for having an aerodynamic design, but also a "beautifully engineered" interior. UC SHELL ECO of Ostfold University College in Norway was recognized in the UrbanConcept category for producing a vehicle that is as close to the standards of a real production vehicle as possible.
TUC Eco-Racing of Technical University of Crete in Greece won the competition's safety award for the structural integrity of its vehicle. The team produced a chassis with crumple zones to protect the driver in the event of a crash, but that was still structurally rigid.
A communications award is given to teams based on how well they set their communication objectives, how well they achieve those goals and how creative they were in approach. This year, the award was the second won by the Prometheus team. The judges said the team had two clear objectives of raising awareness about itself and raising funding or sponsorship, both of which are said to have been succeeded with by way of international crowdfunding and the use of a variety of multimedia, including TV, press and its own website.
Finally, the perseverance and spirit of the event award is presented to a team that has overcome struggles by working together. LSA Khadi AIS of Kharkiv National Automobile And Highway University in Ukraine won the award this year having gone through the "most hardship" of any team competing in the Shell Eco-marathon Europe. Following issues with their visas that meant not all team members made it to London and the need to fix a broken part of their vehicle, the team is said to have still passed the technical inspection in one of the quickest times.
Also on display at Make the Future London were Pavegen's kinetic energy tiles, the Bio-bean sustainable fuel source made of coffee grounds and the GravityLight, that uses a weight and pulley system to produces light for communities in need of access to clean and affordable power. Elsewhere, Capture Mobility showcased the wind turbines it is developing that generate electricity from wind caused by passing cars.
Make the Future London was held over the four days (five including the pre-launch day) from June 30th to July 3rd at London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.