MP-680, the vehicle entry from Milwaukee School of Engineering in Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013

Photograph courtesy Team Carbonair, Milwaukee School of Engineering

School: Milwaukee School of Engineering

Team: Team Carbonair

Car Name: MP-680 (Gasoline Prototype category)

What is special about your car? Our car is very different than most other cars in that the chassis is composed in part by square carbon tubes. These tubes are incredibly strong. During a compression test of the carbon, we maxed out the testing machine at over 10,000 pounds of force. During a test in which we attempted to observe how holes in the carbon fiber would affect the strength of the tube, we found that the bolts placed in the carbon tubes bent before the carbon tubes cracked when the carbon tube was pulled apart. We also use a modified engine that has the body of a Briggs and Stratton Engine, but the head from a Honda engine. This makes our engine unlike any other engine around. Of course, having an engine that uses both the English and SI units of measurement does make it more difficult to repair and make adjustments to.

Why is fuel efficiency important to your team? Fuel efficiency is important to us because we can see the evidence of what we, as humans are doing to the planet. Light pollution, global warming, fuel efficiency: These are all problems that we can solve if we take the time to understand what we are doing to the environment and what we need to do to fix these problems. Increasing fuel efficiency is so important because it is a daily problem. People drive to and from work every day, giving off harmful carbon dioxide fumes that sicken the environment. Since we cannot stop people from driving to work, increasing fuel efficiency should be our primary concern. While increasing fuel efficiency will not completely solve the problem, it is the first step to slowing down the negative effects that humans have had on the environment. As the next generation to inherit the earth, we are trying to do all we can to leave a smaller impact on the planet and help repair the planet for generations to come.

Who or what inspired you on the way to the Eco-marathon? A lot of our inspiration has come from other teams. The great thing about Eco-marathon is that it gets teams together from all over the Americas, along with the competitions in Europe and Malaysia, to bring together different ideas. We learn what works, what doesn't work, new ways to accomplish a goal. In the end, we all go home happy and ready for the next year of planning, designing, and building. Shell Eco-marathon offers a great team-building opportunity and also the chance to build a vehicle. Shell, in itself, inspires us to achieve greatness and strive for a better future. Of course we cannot forget the support and inspiration that our school, advisor, and community has given us. Without them, this project would not exist for us.

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