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The University of Johannesburg’s School of Electrical Engineering will be hosting the Shell Eco-Marathon South Africa on 27 and 28 October, where students will battle out in the self-built energy-efficient vehicles.

After a year of preparation, 20 teams will have the opportunity to showcase their self-built vehicles in a quest to find the most energy-efficient car.

The event will be held at the Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria and is set to create exposure and recognition for UJ’s students on an international platform, as well as the opportunity to welcome international students to the university.

Of the 20 teams that will participate in the competition, 12 are from South Africa and eight from other African countries.

“The Shell Eco-Marathon not only provides a platform for our young engineering minds to pit their skills against one another,” said Prof Johan Meyer, head of UJ’s school for Electrical Engineering.

“It also offers exposure to real-world engineering problems and the challenge of teamwork. Very few things can provide the same thrill as when the knowledge of science meets reality to produce something extraordinary. The satisfaction on the faces of these learners when their cars drive for the first time is indescribable,” Prof Meyer added.

Energy-efficiency competition

The Shell Eco-marathon is one of the world’s leading energy-efficiency competition programmes and students from all over the world are challenged to design, build and test energy-efficient vehicles, pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible.

Participants will take their designs to the track in the Mileage Challenge to see which vehicle will go the farthest on the least amount of energy. Read more: V2G to provide utilities $2 billion by 2025

The Drivers’ World Championship sees winners from the Mileage Challenge matching the efficiency of their vehicles with the skills of their driver to find the most energy-efficient driver.

This initiative seeks to inspire young people around the world to develop new approaches and energy-efficient solutions to the future of mobility.

There are two classes in the Shell Eco-marathon. Firstly, there is the Prototype class where participants employ a streamlining approach to the engineering of their vehicle, defying the usual aesthetics and designs of vehicles in order to ensure that the vehicle achieves maximum performance.

The second class is that of the UrbanConcept vehicles that resemble every day, roadworthy and production-type vehicles.