How far can your car travel on one litre of fuel? Ten kilometres, perhaps twenty at absolute best? Now imagine a fuel consumption figure of 2,903 km/litre. That’s KL to Bangkok and back, on one litre of fuel. You read that right.

An all-student team from Thailand’s Dhurakij Pubdit University has achieved just that at the Sepang circuit last weekend with their Ethanol E100-powered vehicle at Shell Eco-marathon Asia, smashing their own 2011 record of 2,213 km/litre – as if that wasn’t frugal enough.

On the home front, student teams from Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi MARA and Universiti Malaysia Pahang took home cash prizes across five different categories. This year saw 28 Malaysian teams take part, the biggest representation from a single country.

The first Shell Eco-marathon Asia was held in 2010 and has been at Sepang ever since, although by 2014 it will move to Manila. Essentially, student teams from colleges and universities throughout Asia compete to design, build and run energy-efficient vehicles.

Apart from the familiar gasoline and diesel, energy types employed were hydrogen, solar, battery electric, Gas to Liquids (GTL), Fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) and Ethanol E100. 119 teams from a total of 18 countries were there this year, including China, India, Iran, Japan and even the United Arab Emirates.

I caught up with the UAE team, who came all the way from the Abu Dhabi Men’s College and made history by being the first ever contingent from the country. Their three-wheeled vehicle, built in four months, features a lightweight aluminium frame and a 243cc Hatz diesel engine chain-driving the solitary rear wheel through a 14-speed gearbox (likely taken off a bicycle).

The team members have only just graduated with Applied Mechanical Engineering degrees and hope to support and advise next year’s representation.

You can find the full results and more details at www.shell.com/ecomarathon. Gallery after the jump.