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MARSHALL, Mich. … For the 30th consecutive year, more than 40 collegiate teams from around the world will utilize diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation’s test track in Marshall, Mich., to attempt to set a fuel economy record. The contest, which will be held on June 4 and 5, is part of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International’s Supermileage® competition.
Participating student vehicles regularly achieve more than 3,000 miles per gallon (mpg) – the distance from Boston to San Francisco – on a single tank of gas. Last year’s winning team, Laval Universitè in Quebec City, Quebec, reached 3,169 mpg.
“Hosting the SAE Supermileage competition has become an honored tradition for our entire company and all of the employee volunteers that lend a helping hand,” said Joe Palchak, president – Eaton Automotive Group. “Given the importance surrounding fuel efficiency in today’s industry, this is an excellent way to foster creativity and innovation in the students coming out of college.”
As part of the SAE Supermileage competition, students must prepare and submit a detailed project plan for developing and constructing a single-person, fuel-efficient vehicle, powered by a small four-cycle engine donated by Briggs & Stratton that maintains an average speed of 15 mph over six laps of Eaton’s 1.6-mile oval test track. The vehicle’s fuel use is monitored and analyzed before and after its run, and efficiency is computed. The students are judged on vehicle design and performance.
Thursday, June 4
1 p.m. – Track opens for practice – only technical inspection-approved vehicles may practice
4 p.m. – Track closes for practice
Friday, June 5
9 a.m. – Vehicle runs begin on track
10 a.m. – Technical inspection opens in truck garage
4:30 p.m. – Technical inspection closes
5 p.m. – Last vehicle run begins
Faculty from Western Michigan University and employees at Eaton’s Marshall Proving Grounds conceived the competition in 1979 and today Eaton employee volunteers from the company’s Automotive and Truck Groups assist with the event.
Supermileage is part of SAE International’s Collegiate Design Series™. Other competitions in the series include Baja SAE®, Clean Snowmobile Challenge™, Formula SAE® and Aero Design®. SAE International’s Collegiate Design Series™ and A World In Motion® curriculum won the National Science Foundation’s prestigious 2008 Public Service Award.
SAE International is a global association of more than 121,000 engineers and related technical experts in the automotive, aerospace and commercial-vehicle industries. SAE International's core competencies are life-long learning and standards development. SAE International's charitable arm is the SAE Foundation, which supports many programs, including A World In Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series.
Eaton Corporation is a diversified power management company with 2008 sales of $15.4 billion. Eaton is a global technology leader in electrical components and systems for power quality, distribution and control; hydraulics components, systems and services for industrial and mobile equipment; aerospace fuel, hydraulics and pneumatic systems for commercial and military use; and truck and automotive drivetrain and powertrain systems for performance, fuel economy and safety. Eaton has approximately 75,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 150 countries. For more information, visit