“The future will not be a multiple choice question. It is a future design challenge.” That is on the email signature of the coach for the Glencoe-Silver Lake YES! team and it was put into practice at the recent YES! Winter Workshop entitled “Exploring the Automotive Industry and Automotive Design Practices in Glencoe“.
The 15 students from the Glencoe-Silver Lake YES! team who attended utilized the workshop for information and inspiration for their entries into the upcoming 27th annual MTEEA Supermilege Challenge. This will be their third year entering vehicles into this event. They’ll be competing May 11th and 12th at the Brainerd International Raceway.
According to the brochure that the team produced, the team “currently has two Supermileage cars and is working on one additional car to compete in the 2015 Supermileage Challenge at the Brainerd International Raceway. Last year the highest mileage for our cars was 425 MPG.” The students are aiming to better that mark this year and stated “a project like this gives students a real world experience in designing, financing, managing, and building a project that can have an impact on the future. Building a vehicle to attain over 500 MPG is our team goal.”
The speakers for the day harnessed the energy and enthusiasm of these students. Paul Steevens, Engineering Specialist at the Minnesota Center for Automotive Research, spoke to the students about his experiences developing and testing various fuels and methods for efficiency in vehicles. He described emissions and performance testing, fuel studies, and best practices for automotive design. He also showed they some videos of MSU-Mankato students participating in similar Supermileage competitions. The students tapped into his knowledge and asked lots of questions about how they can get their vehicle to achieve the best fuel mileage possible.
Next, Joe Wambeke and Jon Friton, both with programs at Ridgewater College, spoke about their experiences and provided a couple of demonstrations for the students. They provided practical information for the students related to vehicles as Mr. Wambeke works with the Auto Body Collision Technology program and Mr. Friton works with the Automotive Service Technology program. They included a demonstration of how gasoline and E85 burn differently in a running engine by showing this process in a glass cylinder.
Overall it was an educational and inspirational day, thanks to the wonderful presentations by our speakers and the great questions from the YES! students.