For more than 30 years the Shell Eco-Marathon series has challenged high school and college students to go as far as possible on the least amount of energy. This year marks the second time the Americas edition of the event was held in Detroit, the automotive capital of the world.
In total, a record 124 teams representing seven different countries descended on Detroit to participate in this year's competition. Prior to putting boots on the ground, teams dedicated hundreds, if not thousands of hours to their cars for designing, fabricating, tuning and testing to push the efficiency envelope.
Teams opting to build a vehicle in the other category, UrbanConcept, had to abide by rules that made their vehicles look like more traditional road-going vehicles with four-wheels, doors, lights and wipers.
While the Eco-Marathon provides a platform for current high school and college students to gain hands-on development experience, Shell also took steps to try to inspire future competitors by busing in more than 9,000 area grade-school kids to see the cars and mingle with the teams.
This year's event marked the 10th running of the Americas event, and the second one held in Detroit after Shell transplanted it over from Houston last year. The move to the Motor City made a lot of sense, and was fitting according to Niel Golightly, Shell's vice president of external relations. "It [Detroit] is the capital of mobility...We've got students here from all over the hemisphere taking their vehicles that they built, and actually running them on the same streets Henry Ford tested his quadricycle on over a hundred years ago."