Three Nigerian-university-built cars to compete at Shell Eco-marathon



THREE cars built by Nigerian universities will compete at the Shell Eco-marathon, Africa (SEMA).

The competition, scheduled for South Africa this week (October 2-4), challenges students in different continents (America, Europe, Asia and Africa) to build and race energy-efficient cars, and reward those that travel farthest with the least amount of fuel.

The students of University of Lagos (UNILAG), University of Benin (UNIBEN) and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, collectively known as Team Nigeria, will join 40 teams from four countries to test the energy efficiency of their cars at the Zwartkops Raceway, near Pretoria, which will be hosted by the School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Johannesburg.

The production of the cars and Team Nigeria is being sponsored by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) Joint Venture.

Managing Director SPDC and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, in a statement stressed how the events spark debate about the future of mobility and inspire young engineers to push the boundaries of fuel efficiency.

He said: “The sponsorship of the students opens an exciting phase in our long-standing support for education in Nigeria. In addition to awarding scholarships, building schools and donating science equipment, we’re challenging the leaders of tomorrow to begin to think about, and act on the difficult energy choices facing a rapidly-increasing world population.”

It would be recalled that in 2014, the SPDC JV provided seed funding for the three universities and sponsored them to the European edition of the competition in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

They also participated in the maiden edition of Shell Eco-Marathon Africa, which held in South Africa in 2014, with the University of Benin team winning the Best Designed Car award.
SPDC organised a test drive at the Campos Mini Stadium in Lagos in March 2015 to test the readiness of the students.

General Manager, External Relations, SPDC, Igo Weli stressed the success of the venture.

His words: “The test drive was very successful and watched by cheering parents. The outcome of the event provided the assurance that the Nigerian students will pass the rigorous technical inspection before being allowed to race at Shell Eco-marathon in Europe or Africa. We’re pleased that our support has encouraged other universities to take part in this project designed to drive the efficient use of energy.”

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