NUI Galway’s Energy-Efficient Car Competes at Shell Eco-marathon Europe in London

The Geec team at the Shell Eco-marathon Europe in London (l-r): Hugh McSweeney, Dr Maeve Duffy, Shane Queenan, Niamh Keogh (front), Sorcha Tarpey, Barry Flannery, Julie O’Connor, Mark Carmody, Anna Donnelly, Parnell Watters, Keith Ward, Dr Nathan Quinlan, Laura Drudy (front), Sean Scally and Kieran Flannery.
Jul 08 2016 Posted: 14:46 IST

NUI Galway students’ car excels in international energy-efficiency competition

Last week the Geec 2.0 (Galway energy-efficient car), designed and built by NUI Galway engineering students, competed at the Shell Eco-marathon Europe in London. Fourteen students, from first year to PhD, travelled with three university staff members and a sponsor to prepare and drive the car on an 8-lap 18-km course around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Shell Eco-marathon is a competition in vehicle fuel-efficiency, not speed, where the winner is the team that completes the course using the least amount of energy at an average speed of at least 25 km/h. The competition includes six categories of vehicles based on different fuel types and energy sources. The Geec 2.0 competed in the battery-electric category for the second year running. It has one wheel at the back, driven by an electric motor, two wheels at the front, and an extremely low profile with the driver in a lying position.

This was the first year of the competition took place in London. The Geec 2.0 successfully completed 4 full runs out of 5 attempts around the track. On the final attempt the score jumped from 157 km/kWh to 236 km/kWh. This placed the Geec 21st out of 50 competitors in its category, an advance on last year’s 23rd position, and ensured that it retained its position as Ireland’s most energy-efficient car.

Dr Maeve Duffy, Lecturer in Electrical & Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway and one of the Academic Mentors for the Geec, said: “Shell Eco-marathon Europe is truly a festival of engineering where teams work on their cars in full view of each other and the visiting public. It’s a hugely rewarding experience for all involved, with students getting to road-test designs they’ve brought to life in a car, while we as academic supervisors see them develop into fully-fledged engineers to take full ownership of their project. Our students were excellent representatives of NUI Galway and Ireland. We are proud of how they gelled as a team and raised their game under pressure this past week.”

The mission of the Geec is to show what young engineers at Irish universities are capable of when faced with a major challenge. Work on the Geec has been incorporated into student engineering projects at NUI Galway, and as well as the technical experience of designing and building the car, it develops students’ skills in teamwork, communication, project management, health and safety, ergonomics and logistics. Annual participation at Shell Eco-marathon provides a platform for rigorous testing of the student-built vehicles in a real-world, internationally competitive setting, with a primary focus on energy efficiency.

To experience a snippet of Shell Eco-marathon 2016, the Geec team featured in a live Facebook video from the event on 1 July at, and the full story of the Geec’s week at Shell Eco-marathon 2016 is available at


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