Shell Eco-marathon Europe has been challenging the continent’s most innovative students since 1985, and now, in 2016, it will be hosted in London for the first time.

Designed to help push the boundaries of technological innovation, each year Shell Eco-marathon Europe calls on student teams to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient vehicle they can. The team that travels farthest on the equivalent of one litre of fuel is crowned champion.

Ben van Beurden announced Shell’s decision to bring the competition to London at the opening ceremony of this year’s event in Rotterdam. “After four years hosting Shell Eco-marathon Europe in Rotterdam this will be the last edition held in the Netherlands as we proudly hand the baton on to London, the host city of 2016.”

30 years of innovation

In 1985, the competition’s inaugural year, just 25 teams entered from four different countries, constructing vehicles from wood and fibreglass, and powering them with lawnmower engines. In the three decades since, Shell Eco-marathon Europe has come a long way, bringing with it incredible advances in technology.

Today, around than 3,000 students participate from 26 different countries across the continent. From May 21-24 this year, in the competition’s 31st edition, 197 teams fought for top honours on the streets of Rotterdam, aiming to break energy-efficiency records.

The competition’s first ever winners in the Prototype category, Team Henry from Switzerland, travelled 680 kilometres on one litre of fuel. At the 2009 event in Lausitz, Germany, Microjoule La Joliverie from France took top spot having travelled an astonishing 3,771 kilometres, or the equivalent of Gibraltar to Stockholm. It’s a record that still stands today.

Insipiring future generations

In recent times the event’s popularity has skyrocketed. Each year it is supported by around 40,000 spectators, many of which are school children inspired by the potential to learn about the future of energy and mobility.

The Shell Energy Lab is a major trackside attraction inviting people of all ages to take part in an interactive educational experience. It provides visitors with an insight into the global energy challenges of the future through activities such as the Energy Theatre, Kinetic Dance Floor, ‘zorb’ Energy Generators and the Mini Shell Eco-marathon, in which children can build and race their own mini eco-cars powered by nothing more than salt water.

“It’s a great opportunity for children to engage with technology in a way they can understand and relate to – drawing, creating, and dancing around,” said elementary school teacher Saskia.

Helping solve tomorrow’s energy concerns

Since 2012 Shell Eco-marathon Europe has also featured Powering Progress Together forums, which convene some of the world’s foremost thought leaders in business, government and society to address future industry challenges. In Rotterdam on May 21 the forum discussed how investing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education will inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers.

UK Country Chair Erik Bonino explained what it would mean to hold the event in UK: “Hosting Shell Eco-marathon in London will give us the opportunity to engage with citizens about the energy challenges that face many populations around the world. I hope young engineers and scientists will draw inspiration from Shell Eco-marathon and pursue STEM careers.”

Further information on the London event will be released later this year, but to find out more about Shell Eco-marathon Europe please visit the website - Opens in

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