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Electrifying Futures

May 26, 2017 — 

For the first time, the University of Manitoba participated in the International Shell Eco-marathon Americas Competition.  This unique competition challenges students to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car. Mihskakwan James Harper, a fourth-year ENGAP engineering student originally from Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, spearheaded this project after a work placement at Shell.

ecoMotion Team Members working on their prototype

The ecoMotion team named their vehicle, WASKOTEPEYIW, which means Lightning Bolt in Cree. In April, the Faculty of Engineering team sent 10 of their 24 members to Detroit, MI to participate in the challenge. During the first phase, a rigorous technical inspection was performed on the vehicle.  Harper reported that the “technical inspection revealed certain issues with the vehicle related to safety and requirements that would have been detrimental to the team’s entry. Through thinking on our feet and working 6 a.m. to midnight, the team corrected many issues to ensure the vehicle made it on the track.” It is extremely rare for a first year team to meet the competition requirements and WASKOTEPEYIW was the only Canadian vehicle to made it onto the track.  

While the team finished 14 out of 17 of the on-track competitors, they were thrilled to have started from nothing to having the vehicle pass technical inspection and making it onto the track in Detroit.  The team was also pleased to be the top Canadian team in the prototype battery electric vehicle category.  Harper, who is graduating in June, hopes that U of M students continue improving on the project for years to come. “It’s part of a grander vision, a grander theme and a more conscious effort to use engineering skills to create sustainable products,” James said. “And to ensure overall that the future of mobility is as environmentally-conscious and sustainable as possible.”

For photos from the competition visit the team’s Facebook page: facebook.com/umecomotion

Fast Facts about the competition:

  • Shell Eco-marathon is held in Asia, Europe and the Americas
  • Shell Eco-marathon Americas drew a record 124 teams from seven countries to Detroit, USA, as well as 20,000 visitors, for the ultra-energy-efficiency driving challenge. 
  • This is the first time the University of Manitoba entered this international competition
  • Faculty of Engineering team name: ecoMotion
  • Vehicle’s name is WASKOTEPEYIW which means Lightning Bolt in Cree. 
  • ecoMotion was the top Canadian Team in the prototype battery electric vehicle category
  • WASKOTEPEYIW was able to complete 1 successful attempt (6 miles in 24 minutes), resulting in 81 km/kWh (mileage reported for electric vehicles)
  • Duke University, the first-place winners for the same category, achieved more than 400 km/kWh

ecoMotion would like to thank the following sponsors / individuals for their generous support:
Friends of Engineering
Dassult Systemes/SolidWorks
Moiz Jatoi
Sohaib Ali Zaidi Syed
Ahmed Khan
Hamza Khan
Muhammad Farooq Shaikh
Marc Pelland
Jerry Henderson
Altium
Engineering Access Program (ENGAP)
Vehicle Technology Center
Engineering Endowment Fund
SCT Welding
University of Manitoba Engineering Society (UMES)
PolyNT
Boeing
Composite Innovation Center
AllCell
Engineering Geoscientists Manitoba (EGM)
Ishkonigan Inc
Shell
Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE (electric, formula, baja, aero))
University of Manitoba Association of Tiny Tractors (UMATT)
ECE Department/Technicians
Woodcock Cycle
Wallin Industries
Mark Essenburg

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