College students set record of 3,788 mpg during SAE competition

The competition is in its 37th year and is held to generate public awareness of high-mileage, fuel-efficient vehicles and encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

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Power management company Eaton, Cleveland, along with the Society of Automotive Engineers, Warrendale, Pa., (SAE), announced the final results of the annual SAE Supermileage competition held June 9-10 at Eaton’s Proving Grounds in Marshall, Mich. For the third consecutive year, the team from Université Laval in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, placed first and set the all-time event record by achieving 3,788 miles per gallon (mpg) with their student-designed and built vehicle.

“I can’t count the number of hours we put into this. Overall, I think we had a good idea, good design and good team,” said Julien St. Hilaire, a Université Laval team member. “We really like this event and our school recognizes it as an important part of our engineering program. Eaton’s test track is awesome. It’s really smooth and allows us to get the most out of our vehicles.”

The competition is in its 37th year and is held to generate public awareness of high-mileage, fuel-efficient vehicles and encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Participants are encouraged to use advanced materials and technologies, as well as design creativity and imagination, to optimize the fuel efficiency of their vehicles as they travel around Eaton’s 1.6-mile test track.

“Fuel economy is a big emphasis of this event,” said Jim Gluys, engineering specialist, Eaton, and the Supermileage event manager. “The students interested in this are going to put us in 50 mpg cars. They are the engineers of the future.”

There were 21 teams who came to Eaton’s Marshall Proving Grounds, 17 who completed the technical inspection (10 from the U.S., five from Canada, one from India, and one from Lebanon), and 12 who had successful fuel economy attempts. Two new teams at this year’s event from Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women and Texas A&M University competed with all-female team members. Michigan-based University of Detroit Mercy and Lawrence Technological University demonstrated impressive growth in their second year of attendance by improving upon their previous results.

Eaton’s partnership with SAE in Supermileage stems from its broad portfolio of technologies designed to improve the efficiency of specific systems and a vehicle’s overall fuel economy. Supermileage is a part of SAE’s Collegiate Design Series. In addition to Supermileage, Eaton is providing financial and technical support to three student-engineering teams from Western Michigan University, which will design and develop vehicles to compete against other student teams in the American Solar Challenge, Baja SAE and Formula SAE races this year.

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