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University of Canterbury students compete in Shell Eco-Marathon

Brad Christensen
Frank Sullivan tests the finished product
Frank Sullivan tests the finished product  University of Canterbury

A team of engineering students from the University of Canterbury have achieved their goal of creating a completely recyclable car out of vacuum formed plastic.

A group of engineering students from the University of Canterbury have become the first Kiwis to enter the Shell Eco-Marathon in 69 years. 

22 year-old Frank Sullivan and his team travelled to Singapore to test what they believe to be the world's first completely recyclable electric car. 

The Marathon sees students from technical institutes all around the world travel to the designated venue to compete in the event, which focuses on designing the most fuel-efficient car possible. 

Sullivan was behind the wheel of the car which weighs tips the scale at a tiny 130 kilograms.

 He said they were unfortunate to experience some issues with stopping and starting in the race. 

"Each lap we had to come to a complete stop and then re-start again. A few times it failed to start meaning when we did get it going we had to drive quite hard and fast which ended up reducing our efficiency," Sullivan said.

The team finished in fifth place which qualified them for the Driver's World Championships which also took place in Singapore, last Sunday. 

Sullivan was looking good for a second place finish in the championship race when a failure of the motor controller brought them to a complete stop. 

The students have now returned to New Zealand where they will graduate in April. 

A new group of engineering students will take over the project and continue to develop the vehicle with the hope of entering the Eco-Marathon again next year.