15 Sleds Enter Clean Snowmobile Challenge

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

"Beat the Standards" is the theme for the seventh annual SAE Clean Snowmobile">Snowmobile Challenge, hosted for the fourth year in a row by Michigan Tech. Fifteen teams from across North America and their reengineered snowmobiles will compete head to head in efforts to build greener machines and beat the 2012 federal emissions standards.

The competition will be held March 13-18 at Michigan Tech's Keweenaw Research Center, known for its winter driving track and vehicle test grounds. The competition is hosted by the Keweenaw Research Center and the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is the Society of Automotive Engineers' newest collegiate design competition. Teams of engineering students from participating schools take a stock snowmobile and reengineer it to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or improving performance.

Three new challengers have entered the competition, including the University of New Hampshire and the University of Minnesota Duluth. Other entries include Ecole De Technologie Superieure in Montreal, Kettering University in Flint, McGill University in Montreal, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State University at Mankato, State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of Idaho, the University of Maine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Utah State University.

"The New York teams are the ones to beat, as they came in first and second last year," said Jay Meldrum, director of the Keweenaw Research Center. Clarkson University and SUNY Buffalo nabbed first and second place last year, respectively, with Michigan Tech taking sixth.

Testing has changed for both traditional and zero-emissions entries. In the past, a control sled was used when ranking entries. Team members must now pass an objective noise test to get half of the points. After a passing grade, the rest of the points are then earned as recordings of the sleds are played to individuals and rated according to appeal. "That's how it's done in industry. First you pass the test, then you get to sell your sled," said Meldrum.

This year for the first time, the zero-emissions sleds compete in a separate class. Due to differences in speed and distance abilities, the electric sleds are put to different tests than fuel-powered entries.

The public is encouraged to attend. The handling event starts at 11 a.m. on KRC's testing grounds on Saturday, March 18. The grand opening event begins the competition at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 14, at KRC.

For more information, contact Meldrum at (906) 487-3178, or jmeldrum@mtu.edu.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.