MSOE’s Supermileage team hit the road and closed out the competition season with two successful races. In April, the team traveled to Sonoma, California to compete in the 2019 Shell Eco-Marathon. The Shell Eco-Marathon is a three-day competition challenging student teams to design and build ultra-energy-efficient cars to see whose car can get around the track using the least amount of energy.

Despite rain delays causing a limited session and slick track, the Supermileage team finished in eighth place out of 30 teams in the gasoline prototype category with 919 mpg. This is the team’s best result at Shell Eco-Marathon for a gasoline vehicle, both in terms of miles per gallon and placement.

With a few tweaks to their car and race strategy, the team proceeded to compete in the 40th annual Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Supermileage Vehicle competition held in Marshall, Michigan in June. MSOE finished fourth with a mileage of 1,093 mpg, which was just shy of the team’s 2018 record high score of 1,112 mpg. In addition to finishing fourth overall out of 20 teams, they were the third team to complete their technical inspection.

“We are thrilled to see our hard work pay off and that our improvements over this year and last year are here to stay!” said Dylan Critz, Supermileage team leader.

Seventeen active members ranging from freshman to juniors and spanning across all majors dedicate their time throughout the school year to make improvements to the vehicle and ensure success at competitions. The team is advised by Dr. Christopher Damm, professor and director of the Mechanical Engineering program.

“Everyone dedicates a huge amount of time into working to achieve these results, and I’m proud of how everyone took part in the vehicle’s success,” said Critz.

The team accounts their accomplishments to perfecting the vehicle’s engine tuning and utilizing a burn coast strategy, a technique where the driver brings the car up to speed and then shuts off the engine and coasts for as long as possible to get the highest efficiency. The differing course layouts require the team to adapt their approach and burn coast strategy for each track.

For next season, the Supermileage team plans to continue to compete with the prototype gas vehicle with ambitious goals to achieve even greater results. They are working on building a new body and chassis for the current gas prototype vehicle for enhanced efficiency. Additionally, they hope to complete work on a battery electric urban concept vehicle to compete in next year’s Shell Eco-Marathon. This vehicle is built to include features expected in street-legal vehicles along with a similar body and chassis.

Critz applauds his fellow teammates for their dedication. “I cannot emphasize enough how much of an impact the members of the team have on the results of the car,” said Critz. “Everyone puts in a lot of time and effort into the vehicle. The team prides itself on student made designs and students building the results, and the dedication shows in our performance.”