Students from Texas A&M University at Qatar and their ultra-energy-efficient vehicle will take part in the Shell Eco-Marathon Europe, an energy efficiency competition held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, from 15 to 18 May 2014.

The Shell Eco-Marathon is one of the world’s most innovative and challenging student competitions held annually in Europe, America and Asia in which university student teams from around the world are challenged to design, build and compete their energy-efficient vehicles. The winner is the team that goes the farthest distance using the least amount of energy.

Assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Texas A&M at Qatar, Dr Reza Tafreshi, said:

The Shell Eco-Marathon competition provides our students the opportunity to work as a team, tackling a real-life engineering problem…The participants have clearly applied the engineering knowledge they have gained in class. The Texas A&M at Qatar team worked very hard to overcome several technical and non technical challenges and they are looking forward to participating in the competition.’

The Shell Eco-marathon program aims to encourage students to develop innovative vehicles that exemplify fuel-efficiency and the future of transportation. Currently, the world’s leading teams complete the 15km competition distance on a teaspoon full of fuel. The current record for a gasoline prototype vehicle at Shell Eco-Marathon stands at 4,896.1 kilometers on a single liter of fuel — the equivalent of driving from Qatar to Paris.

General manager of corporate affairs and deputy country chairman at Qatar Shell, Rob Sherwin, said:

We are very pleased to see Texas A&M at Qatar participating in Shell Eco-Marathon Europe. I have been impressed by the level of detailed preparations and innovative thinking that the students have demonstrated in the design and assembly of the Al-Gazzal vehicle. This competition provides a fantastic opportunity for students to experience what it’s like to translate their engineering skills to tangible products, and to work as teams to overcome real issues that face the industry and the world.’

The Shell Eco-Marathon competition has two categories. The ‘Prototype’ group focuses on maximum efficiency, while passenger comfort takes a back seat. The ‘Urban Concept’ class encourages more practical designs.

Texas A&M at Qatar continued its tradition from past Shell Eco-Marathons and chose to participate in the Urban Concept category with its ‘Al-Gazal’ vehicle. The team divided into subgroups, each responsible for the different aspects of the car’s design — for example, the chassis, body, steering, power transmission and electrical systems.