“Beat the Standards” is the theme for the seventh annual SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, hosted for the fourth year in a row by Michigan...

“Beat the Standards” is the theme for the seventh annual SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, hosted for the fourth year in a row by Michigan Tech in Houghton, Michigan. Sixteen 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 both 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 then reengineer it to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or improving performance.
Three new challengers have entered into the competition, including the University of New Hampshire, the University of Minnesota Duluth, and Clarkson University’s zero-emissions entry (in addition to their conventional entry). 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 the 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-emission 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 snowmobiles will be on display at the ROTC Campus Gym on Michigan Tech’s campus on Wednesday, March 15 at 6 p.m. where the public can talk with team members. The grand opening event begins the competition at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 14, at KRC.

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