What Is Supermileage?
Fuelathon competitions provide engineering and technology students with a challenging design project that involves the development and construction of either a single-person, fuel-efficient vehicle or a larger four wheeled urban concept car. Students build gas-powered fuel efficient vehicles, and have the opportunity to set a world fuel economy record and increase public awareness of fuel economy and sustainability. Students become more sensitive to environmental issues as well as develop important project management skills.
Vehicles are powered by a small four-stroke lawnmower engine, and must complete 6 laps of a 2.4km track (with hills) with a minimum speed of 24km/hr. Fuel efficiency is calculated by measuring the vehicle’s net fuel consumption over the total distance traveled.
SAE Supermileage Competition
The traditional Supermileage competition is an annual SAE student engineering competition. The event takes place every year in Marshall, Michigan, at the Eaton Proving Grounds. Students compete against teams from across Canada, USA, Latin America and even India.
The official competition rules can be found on the SAE website here.
Note that the UBC Supermileage Team held development of its prototype vehicle for several years in order to focus on the development of its Urban Concept Car. The team has not recently competed in the SAE Supermileage Competition as a result.
Shell Eco-marathon Americas
The Shell Eco-marathon competition made its debut once again in the United States on April 12-15th, 2007 at the California Speedway in Fontana, California. In 2010, the competition was moved to Houston, Texas; the track circling Discovery Green Park in downtown Houston. For more information, please visit the Shell website.
There are two classes of vehicles that may compete in the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas. Although the Prototype and the Urban Concept Vehicle do not compete against each other, they coexist in the Shell Eco Marathon Americas.
The prototype vehicle is a three wheeled, single passenger vehicle meant to push the limits of fuel efficiency. This competition class has very few limits on design, allowing a number of creative solutions in order to achieve extremely high fuel mileage. UBC Supermileage has recently restarted development in this class with our Mark VIII vehicle.
Urban Concept Car
The Urban Concept Car is a slightly more practical vehicle meant to bridge the gap between the prototype vehicle and the vehicles you see on the road today. Teams are required to design the vehicle with a minimum of four wheels, larger stance, headlights, tailights, turn signals and other practical considerations that the average city vehicle requires today. Even “stop and go driving” is simulated in the competition.