The Shell Eco-Marathon is an annual competition in which teams must design and build the most fuel efficient car possible. It’s open to full-time high school and university students and the European leg of this year’s competition is being held in London. I spoke to Max Naylor Marlow, team principle of first-time-competitors Imperial Racing Green, to see how they’re approaching it.
I met Max at a media event for the Eco-marathon held at the Lee Valley Velopark, which was used for the London 2012 Olympics. I was there to try my hand at driving a car that had been designed for the Eco-marathon and then write about the experience for Gizmag.
As well as various Shell bods, the Imperial Racing Green team were in attendance to give a different perspective on the competition. The team has been running cars for 5-10 years, but this year is the first that it will enter the Eco-marathon. They’ve been preparing for for 18 months now, but Max is pragmatic about their chances.
It’s not realistic to expect to win in the first year. I think a lot of other team entering have experience. What we are hoping to do is … have a reliable entry and set a time that we can improve on next year – and also we’ll be targeting the innovation award.”
The team’s car is hydrogen-powered and is being entered in the Prototype vehicle class, which means that they must focus on efficiency regardless of passenger comfort. There’s also an UrbanConcept class in which teams must consider both efficiency and passenger comfort.
Imperial Racing Green has built its car with both new and existing parts. The bodyshell, for example, was used by another Imperial team in the Eco-marathon 20 years ago. Fortunately a lecturer held onto it and has given it to the team to use this time round, as Max says they are probably the most complicated single parts to build. Elsewhere, the team is focusing in honing the car’s fuel cell and powertrain. This is where it believes its chance of being recognized for innovation lies.
Shell Eco-marathon Europe runs from June 30th to July 3rd in London.