ABU DHABI // Seven “Made in the UAE” fuel-efficient cars took part in a historic test run at Yas Marina South Circuit last night.
The cars were designed and built by engineering students from five local universities.
Two did not complete their test runs last night, although all will go on to participate in the Shell Eco-marathon competition next year in Manila, from February 6 to 9.
“I feel proud to be a member of this team,” said Ali Ameri, 29, from the Higher Colleges of Technology’s Abu Dhabi Men’s College, from behind the wheel of Black Widow.
“It’s my first time to drive here and I hope to get out of here with good results.”
His teammate, Ahmed Al Harbi, 32, who graduated last summer, said it was their final project.
“We got an ‘A’ for it,” he said, beaming with pride. “It looks excellent. We’ve achieved something great. We built something from scratch and we now have a chance to compete in the prototype-diesel category.”
Mohammed Al Nuaimi, 35, from HCT Al Ruwais Colleges, said it was a proud moment for all Emiratis.
He and his teammates cheered on Ali Al Breiki, 25, as he successfully manoeuvred their vehicle, Without Limits, around the 2.36-kilometre track in five minutes.
“Being part of an all-Emirati team, I am proud to be representing the UAE,” Mr Al Nuaimi said. “It’s one way for us to give back to our country.”
The cars, also from Dubai Men’s College, American University in Dubai and American University in Sharjah, were designed to travel the longest distance on the least amount of energy, reflecting the mission of the Shell Eco-marathon.
“The Shell Eco-marathon has been an amazing experience,” said Abdulaziz Al Muhairi, team leader for the Al Ruwais Colleges team.
“To be able to test our cars on Abu Dhabi’s Formula One track and to travel the road driven on by the racing world’s legends is a dream come true.”
Five teams successfully completed the test run in the presence of senior Shell officials led by Andrew Vaughan, vice president and country chairman for the UAE.
Mr Vaughan was joined by Mike Evans, F1 fuels project leader, and Colin Chin, technical director at Shell Eco-marathon Asia.
“I am delighted to introduce such a talented group of young engineers who represent a beacon of progress for the country and region’s ongoing quest for sustainable energy, and to witness the fruit of their hard work, with seven ‘Made in the UAE’ cars getting ready to take part in the global Shell Eco-marathon next year in Manila,” said Mr Vaughan.
Abu Dhabi Men’s College was the only UAE team in the last Eco-marathon.
The participation of five UAE universities in next year’s event is a tribute to the commitment of the UAE’s leadership towards strengthening knowledge and progress, Mr Vaughan said.
“These universities are enabling the country’s future leaders to not only join but shape the global dialogue on energy efficiency and smarter mobility,” he said.
“We look forward to hosting these teams in Manila in 2014 and to more teams joining the Eco-marathon in the near future.”
Shell technical teams work with the students, supporting all the stages of vehicle development, from inception to construction.
“Getting students to not only think about fuel-efficient vehicles but to design, build, test and refine them is what will bring about positive sustainable change for the future,” said Mr Evans.
Shell Eco-marathon is one of the world’s most innovative and challenging global student competitions and is held annually in Asia, the Americas and Europe.
The seven UAE teams will compete with more than 140 others from across Asia and the Middle East.
“We now look forward to representing the UAE with our cars at the Shell Eco-marathon 2014 Manila race,” Mr Al Muhairi said.