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Shell Eco-marathon

The Shell Eco-marathon is an annual event aimed at students to challenge them to design and build a fuel-efficient car. All cars are then transported to the SEM venue where the most fuel-efficient cars are selected over the course of a few days. The two categories in which teams may participate are prototypes and urban concepts. The prototype category is a freestyle category where competitors have fewer rules to adhere to, and therefore, some really radical designs are sometimes observed – and, these vehicles usually achieve higher mileages. Vehicles designed for the urban concept category must adhere to a more stringent set of rules. These vehicles do not achieve efficiencies as high as those in prototypes category, but they are important since they resemble currently available production vehicles. Texas A&M University at Qatar, continued its tradition from past SEMs and chose to participate in the urban concept category. The team was split into subgroups responsible for the different aspects of the car’s design (e.g. the chassis, body, steering, power transmission, electrical systems, etc.) The students designed the car from scratch while ensuring the simplicity of design to allow for in-house manufacturing as well as easy debugging. Ensuring simplicity had the added advantage of usually saving weight, which improved the fuel efficiency of the car which was the main goal of the project. However, it was not all smooth sailing. The journey to completion had several snags and obstacles in the way. Major problems such as the steering collapse, brake failure, engine stalling and bodyworks were amplified by minor issues of transportation, time constraints, parts procurement and manufacturing. Nevertheless, the team powered through all these issues with sheer determination and hard-work and was able to eventually overcome all obstacles. The commitment displayed by the team certainly helped us in achieving this milestone. By the end of May, the team successfully assembled the vehicle and thoroughly tested and checked the design for any failures. The team's stringent testing phase included a series of dry runs, an incline test, turning/steering radius check and, most importantly, recording mileage data. The vehicle was completely operational and ready for performance when it was shipped by mid-June. Unfortunately, the competition scheduled to take place in Malaysia was called off due to bad weather conditions. The team has, therefore, decided to participate in the upcoming event in the Philippines, which is scheduled for February 2014.