The University of Toronto’s Supermileage Team is hoping to retake the top spot at the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas (SEMA) competition, having snagged a silver medal last year.
The team, composed of U of T Engineering students, has been working around the clock to design and build two hyper-efficient vehicles to race in two categories: gasoline prototype and battery electric. They’ll put them to the test April 27 to 30 in Detroit, Mich.
This year, they’ve made some critical upgrades to the gasoline prototype vehicle, including improved braking, drive train and clutch systems, reduced rolling resistance and a new windshield, all of which they hope will help them recapture the first-place title they won in 2015.
Fabricating the windshield proved a particular challenge. At past competitions, driver Kristine Confalone (ChemE 1T7) had to navigate largely by radio cues and intuition. The team stacked up almost 20 prototypes as they worked with industry partner Waveform Plastics to get the window clear enough for her to see out.