The Motor City’s NAIAS host – the Cobo Center – has been filled with vehicles that have little to no ties to what we consider to be today’s modern car. Yet the thousands of students from North and South America, gathered to compete in the Shell Eco-Marathon have brought their vehicles as a testament to the world’s fuel efficiency future.
Around 140 high tech vehicles – from ultra-aerodynamic electric cars to aluminum boxes that have more in common with the design of a soapbox – were taken from their protective crates on Thursday. They were readied for the Cobo Center, which hosts the test track and inspection area – in the latter being found the engineering professionals that got to decide if the student team’s months of work were eligible to “race” down the streets of Detroit over the coming weekend.
After first editions were focused around Shell’s headquarter in Houston, the Eco-Marathon has moved to Detroit’s major league for the first time as the Motor City managed to overpower the cities that wanted to organize the event and the associated energy, mobility and urban planning conference. The test runs will be held between 10:30 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. on Friday and then the competition will reach full steam ahead on Saturday and Sunday between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. All interested viewers can tag along the course, which stretches across Cobo along Jefferson Avenue, up Woodward around Campus Martius Park and back to Cobo via Michigan and Griswold avenues and Larned Street.