Twenty four hours after Tuke-Tuke, a car produced by students of the University of Benin passed all the required technical evaluations, another car manufactured by students of the University of Lagos also scaled through technical qualifications. Both cars have now qualified to race with 200 other cars from 26 other countries at the Shell Eco-Marathon 2014.
Media Manager, Precious Okolobo announced the latest news in a statement. According to him: "UNILAG has qualified to race in Eco-Marathon. This development is coming less than twenty four hours after another Nigerian university, UNIBEN also qualified to compete."
Shell Eco-marathon challenges student teams from around the world to design, build and test ultra energy-efficient vehicles. The winners are the teams that go the furthest using the least amount of energy.
The Nigerian cars will now battle for energy efficiency on the road. The technical inspection will qualify cars that will perform the actual race, where students are competing to produce vehicles of the future. Nigeria's participation marks the first time a Sub-Saharan African country will be joining the race.
The team from the University of Lagos on its part, produced a car called AUTONOV II and is participating in the prototype category. The car is in the category of solar battery-electric.
Both teams also joined a specially chosen group of ten teams at an opening ceremony of the programme at the Ahoy Centre, Rotterdam, Netherlands yesterday. At a visit to the Nigerian team on Thursday, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Ben Van Beurden, commended the Nigerian teams for their resilience, despite the challenges with technology in Africa. "In my mind, Africa is the continent of the future. It has so much potential: human potential, resource potential. It has so much dynamism, it has so much growth today that I think this actually is going to be a very very important milestone going forward. It is wonderful to have the Nigerian team here."
Official of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), an arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC), Mrs Kolapo Jolayemi said the corporation was proud to have co-sponsored the students, seeing the level of innovation that they had exhibited. Her words: "I feel so happy and excited to be here and to be part of the problem. This is the first time that Nigeria is coming for the competition, and we have passed the technical evaluation. I feel great and proud to be a Nigerian, and I am even impressed by courage and efforts out in by Nigeria.