The Shell Eco-marathon is a unique competition that challenges students around the world to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car. For Africa, the Shell Eco-marathon 2015 was an opportunity to showcase the kind of talent this continent has to offer.

The Shell Eco-marathon, which was hosted by the University of Johannesburg, brought together over 100 young engineers from South Africa and Nigeria. The aim was to build and race an innovative prototype which follows the principles of eco-mobility and challenges what’s possible in terms of design and efficiency.

As part of its ongoing commitment to Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (MST), BMW South Africa sponsored 3 teams of students from UJ. “At BMW, we believe that a consistent focus on sustainable innovations and technologies is the key to future success. This is why we have decided to support these creative students. The project resonates very well with our BMW i brand, which is all about visionary electric vehicles and mobility services, inspiring design as well as a new understanding of premium that is strongly defined by sustainability,” says Bongani Mshibe, External Affairs and Government Relations Manager at BMW Group South Africa.

While our sponsored teams dominated the top 3 Leaderboard, it was the BMW Eco Pro team who outperformed all expectations. The team consisted of some of the brightest minds in the fields of Electrical Engineering, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Accounting and Optometry. The team driver, Muhammed Moolla, is not only a gifted final year Mechanical Engineering student but also a bursar who is set to join the BMW Graduate Programme in 2016 at Plant Rosslyn in Pretoria.

Together, the BMW Eco Pro team was able to build a battery-electric prototype, boldly called the BMW Blue Hornet. The concept vehicle, which is impressively compact, has a body mass of only 8kg. It also holds the capacity to travel a distance of 343.8 km on just R1 of electricity. Not only does this make the BMW Blue Hornet the most efficient electric vehicle on the African continent, but one of the top 10 most efficient electric vehicles globally.

Due to their overwhelming success, the BMW Eco Pro team and their Blue Hornet will travel to London in May to take part in the Shell Eco-marathon 2016. This international race will see them compete against 200 other teams and we are confident that they will represent Africa as well as the brand values of BMW, when it comes to efficiency and future mobility.

What do you think of the design and specs of the BMW Blue Hornet? Let us know in the comments below: