Dalhousie Supermileage is a team of engineering students who have set out to design and build fuel efficient vehicles to be tested against over 100 other school teams from North and South America. We focus on minimizing weight, incorporating aerodynamic principles into our design, and tuning our fuel system to maximize our fuel efficiency. At the Shell Eco-Marathon in 2016, we achieved a fuel mileage of 1056 gpm, securing us with fifth place!
Previously, Dalhousie Supermileage has attended competitions in the Prototype division. This category prioritizes fuel mileage over anything else. This year, however, we have decided to register a second car in the Urban Concept division. This category still requires the vehicle to maximize fuel efficiency but with a more practical design that resembles a car on the road today. Teams must incorporate several design considerations into the vehicle, such as an upright driver, cargo space, and even windshield wipers!
Our team recognizes the importance of incorporating environmentally friendly initiatives into today’s technology to help provide a more sustainable society. We believe through research and engineering we will be able to implement these ideas into our project and may lead to further development down the road.
This engineering project also provides an environment for student members to learn about the automotive industry and get experience taking on projects that they would otherwise not have access to. It also introduces members to the importance of environmental issues that may affect how they design as engineers in the future.
Prototype Vehicle – Much of the car is currently competition ready. The body has been constructed of carbon fiber with and integrated carbon fiber tube and aluminum chassis. The engine is functioning and tuned (with more tuning always desirable). The steering system and brakes have been installed. The future for this car consists of aesthetic additions as well as tweaking various systems.
Urban Concept – As this is the first year we have attempted to construct this type of car, we have spent much of our time ensuring we have not overlooked any requirements put in place by the competition committee. At this point we have designed the body and are in the process of constructing it through carbon fiber layups. We have also designed the wheels, steering, and braking systems. The majority of work left has to do with physically constructing and assembling the vehicle. This will take place from now until we leave for competition in April.
The funding will provide us with the ability of selecting better materials and processes without limiting us to reusing outdated technology or pursuing less sustainable ideas. It will also provide us with an option of outsourcing parts to companies with more experience and/or better resources in part manufacturing. This will help us to explore more energy efficient areas and will result in a more attractive and fuel efficient vehicle.
A huge portion of our budget is allocated towards transportation, accommodations, food, and other expenditures at competition. We attend the Shell Eco-Marathon which is held in Detroit from April 27th to 30th this year. This funding will also provide us to bring more of our team to help out with the vehicles in Detroit.