Last year, students from the Ahmadu Bello University, University of Lagos and University of Benin attended Shell Eco-marathon Europe as observers of the 2013 edition on SPDC JV sponsorship. Since then, the students from Lagos and Benin have successfully built cars that are being sent to Rotterdam this week, in line with the main objective of Shell Eco-marathon: to challenge students from around the world to design, build and race fuel-efficient vehicles. The judges will be looking to reward the cars that drive farthest with the least amount of fuel.

“We are pleased to take our students to Europe,” said SPDC Managing Director and Country Chairman, Shell companies in Nigeria, Mutiu Sunmonu. “As first time entries, we’re modest in our expectations from Team Nigeria, but to scale through the technical qualification phase is itself a reward. We want to focus attention on the future of energy in a world with a rapidly growing population, and we believe the undergraduates travelling to Rotterdam will help push the boundaries of this discussion. At Shell, we use human ingenuity, innovation and technology to unlock the energy our customers need.”

The SPDC JV has supported the teams of engineering undergraduates to design and build cars which have been tested to cheering crowds on their campuses. A Professor of Electrical/Electronic Engineering, Ike Mowete is leading the team in Lagos, while a Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Akii Ibhadode heads the Benin group. The students from the University of Benin have named their car “Tuke-tuke,” while that of the University of Lagos is known as “Autonov-11.”

Shell Eco-marathon dates back to 1939, and has been an annual event in Europe since 1985, the US since 2007 and went global with the first edition in Asia in 2010. The Nigerian teams join a long line of youth innovators who have designed increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles using energy types ranging from electricity to biofuel. Team Nigeria’s participation at Shell Eco-marathon has caught the interest of the National Automotive Council (NAC), which has appointed a focal point to support the students. “The interest in fuel efficient cars fits well with Government efforts to encourage the automobile industry in Nigeria,” said NAC Director-General, Aminu Jalal, when an SPDC team led by General Manager, Communications Philip Mshelbila called on him in Abuja recently.
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria is expected to join Team Nigeria at the Asia edition of Shell Eco-marathon, scheduled to hold in Manila, The Philippines in May 2015.

You can follow Team Nigeria’s journey on Twitter @Shell_Nigeria. For more details check our Shell Eco-marathon section.