Michigan Tech’s Supermileage Systems Enterprise competed in the 2018 SAE Supermileage Competition in Marshall, MI this summer. SAE Supermileage, an engineering design competition for undergraduate and graduate students, provides participants the opportunity to strengthen their engineering design and project management skills. The goal for SAE Supermileage is to develop and construct a single-person, fuel-efficient vehicle that complies with the competition rules. The vehicles run a specified course to obtain the highest combined kilometers per liter (miles per gallon) rating. Students must complete a written report and verbal presentation during competition.
There were 29 teams that participated in the 38th SAE Supermileage Competition representing the U.S., Canada, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Michigan Tech’s Supermileage Systems Enterprise placed 1st for overall design with a score of 430 out of 500 based on their written report and verbal presentation. Their first competition run was a success, reaching a fuel economy of 425mpg. Tech placed 8th overall based on the fuel economy results, as well as their design report and presentation.
Prior to competition, the team was missing key testing milestones and needed several students to work remotely and on campus after Spring semester ended. In the process, Supermileage Systems Enterprise team members discovered several issues that required them to shelve their new clutch design, simplify the electrical system, and revert to a mechanical throttle. This experience reinforced the importance of testing, troubleshooting, project management, and perseverance. “We have much to be proud of. Our ability to get through technical inspection much faster this year was a result of better preparation and simplifying our designs,” shared Rick Berkey, Supermileage Systems Enterprise Advisor. The design work this year lays the ground work for an even more competitive vehicle in 2019. Every student member of Supermileage Systems Enterprise furthered their learning and personal/professional development through an experience that simply cannot be duplicated in the classroom.