“I temporarily gave up a lot of things like the gym, watching movies and TV, cleaning my room and sleep, (while) other team members also sacrificed a lot for this project,” notes student Lihang Nong, leader of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Engineering’s Supermileage Team.
Held annually in Marshall, Michigan, the SAE Supermileage Competition pits international post-secondary schools against one another in a bid to create the world’s most fuel-efficient vehicle. A design’s consumption is evaluated after full trips around a designated test track and as we all know, building one of the world’s most fuel-efficient vehicles is obviously a tremendous challenge. Car manufacturers have been whittling away at it for over a century.
However, to the University of Ottawa’s Supermileage Team, this task in itself wasn’t ambitious enough. Ensuring stress levels were as impressive as their vehicle’s effectiveness, the group opted to partake in this past year’s competition. Where other schools take years to design, build and test their creations though, Nong’s group hammered theirs out in a jaw-dropping 18 months. At that, eight of those were spent fabricating and building the vehicle itself from scratch, including its impressively gas-sipping engine. Yet they did it.
“Participating in this project has taught me a lot about not just engineering, but project management and team work,” he said.