Calgary, Alberta – Registration has opened for the Shell Eco-marathon Americas, a challenge for high school, university and college students to design, build and test vehicles to see which can go the farthest distance on the least amount of fuel, with a special incentive for Canadian teams. The event will take place April 15 to 18, 2009, at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

In 2009, teams are encouraged to participate in the “Prototype” or “Urban Concept” categories, or both.

The “Prorotype” category is for futuristic, streamlined vehicles focused on maximizing fuel efficiency through innovative design elements such as drag reduction. Last year, a new mark was set in the category by a team from Evansville, Indiana, which achieved 1,208.6 kilometres per litre. The “Urban Concept” category focuses on more roadworthy fuel-efficient vehicles that are aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers, and are closer in appearance to cars seen on the roads today. For both categories, teams can use any conventionally-available energy source such as diesel, gasoline or liquid petroleum gas, or alternative fuels such as hydrogen, biomass or solar.

“The Shell Eco-marathon offers young people interested in technology, energy and transportation a unique, hands-on opportunity to stretch the boundaries of fuel efficiency,” said Mark Singer, Shell Eco-marathon global project manager.” Adding the Urban Concept category to the Americas event in 2009 is a visible demonstration of our deep commitment to face the global demand for energy head-on and an invitation for others to do the same. We look forward to seeing these vehicles on the track and, one day, powered by environmentally-friendly fuels out on the roads.”

Registration is now open, and to support participation, the first five teams in Canada to register for Prototype or Urban Concept categories are eligible to receive US$5,000 each. To be eligible for the incentive, teams must complete Phase 1 of registration and pass vehicle inspection at the event. For more information, visit Shell Eco-marathon.

Connect with Autos.ca