DUBAI // A team of Emirati engineering students have designed a car that could potentially travel up to 1,000kilometres on just one litre of fuel.
The lightweight vehicle is in its final stage of construction and will begin testing in the next two weeks.
It is the product of almost two years work by students at the Higher Colleges of Technology Dubai Men's College.
It will enter a race in July against similarly designed cars from around the world, including four other vehicles produced in the UAE.
"[Petrol] is not going to last forever," said Ahmad Khamis Alsuwaidi, one of the students behind the Men's College car.
"One day we're going to run out.
"So in terms of developing a local eco-car industry, it starts with us. We're the future of the UAE in this."
The students at Dubai Men's College will put their creation, named Eco-Dubai 1, to the test at Shell's Eco-Marathon between July 4-7 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The competition is based on designing a car that can travel the furthest on just one litre of fuel.
Students are allowed to use electricity, solar, or hybrid technologies to reach their goal.
The record for the longest distance travelled is held by students from France's Polytech Nantes University, who designed a car that travelled almost 4,900km.
The Higher Colleges of Technology's Abu Dhabi Men's College took part in last year's Asian leg of the event in Malaysia, and will re-enter this year.
In addition, the HCT's Al Ruwais College will also take part, alongside the American University of Sharjah and American University of Dubai.
Mr Alsuwaidi said far from competing against each other, students from different colleges have been sharing ideas.
"Everyone's just so excited to be taking part in this and representing our country," he said.
"It's amazing to be able to apply what we've learned in classes to a real-life project."
He said that Eco-Dubai 1 will begin testing in the coming weeks, first around the Men's College campus and then at Dubai Autodrome.
The vehicle is half a metre wide, two metres long and half a metre high.
It weighs about 25kg and fits its driver, Khalifa Awadh, "snugly".
Mr Alsuwaidi said that there were no plans to put Mr Awadh on a diet in order to maximise whatever advantage they could get from the lower torque.
"We don't want him to go much lower than 60kg," he said.
"He's light enough already."