Kiwi eco-warriors all set to drive through to victory
New Zealand's crack team of young eco-warriors have passed technical inspections and are all set to drive to victory in Singapore on Friday.
The eight-person Canterbury University representatives - who have dubbed themselves the Endurokiwis - are competing in the Asia-Pacific leg of the worldwide Shell Eco-Marathon, a competition in which teams from universities and technical institutes design, build and drive the most economical vehicle possible.
On Thursday the 124 competing cars had to undergo a 10-part technical inspection, which the Kiwi team passed with flying colours. That gave them sufficient time to take their little recyclable plastic electric car out on a specially-prepared Singapore circuit for some shake-down laps.
Team member Cam Thompson, of Auckland, said everything was working perfectly, and the Endurokiwis were confident of a good showing on Friday.
In the Eco-Marathon, teams of students can build one of two types of cars. Prototypes are futuristic and highly aerodynamic vehicles, while Urban Concepts are innovative vehicles that look more like today's cars. Students can also choose between seven energy sources - petrol, diesel, ethanol (biofuel), GTL (gas to liquid) fuel made from natural gas, CNG, hydrogen fuel cell, or battery electric power.
The New Zealanders have chosen battery electric power, and they will be judged on the amount of kilometres driven per kilowatt hour of electricity. In 2016, the winning team achieved 77.6km/kWh, and in testing so far the Kiwi team has achieved 105km/kWh.
In the Eco-Marathon, teams will are required to complete groups of 10 laps in under 29 minutes, coming to a halt at the conclusion of every lap. If they drive too slowly and don't finish in time, then their attempt will be wiped by officials. But if they drive too fast, then their economy will suffer.
This year's eco-marathon is part of a wider four-day festival of ideas and innovation called Powering Progress Together, which features bright energy ideas and solutions that address the global energy challenge - how to meet the energy demands of the future, while producing far fewer greenhouse gas emissions.