Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Clarkson Cleans-Up At Snowmobile Challenge

Clarkson University claimed first place overall in the 12th Annual Clean Snowmobile Challenge, held at Michigan Technological University’s Keweenaw Research Center in early March.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is a collegiate design competition of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Engineering students from participating schools take a stock snowmobile and re-engineer it. Their aim: to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or boosting performance. The Challenge also has a division for battery-powered sleds: the zero emissions category.

Clarkson took top prize in the internal combustion (IC) category and third place in the zero emissions category.

The team brought home nine trophies in all. In addition to finishing first overall, the IC team also claimed top honors for best performance, best fuel economy, quietest snowmobile, most practical solution, best value, best ride, best handling, and finished the endurance race in first place as well.

The IC team utilized a 2011 Ski-Doo MXZ Sport, powered by a Rotax ACE 600 (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) four stroke engine for the competition, the first Rotax ACE motor to be used for this event.

The team partnered early in the fall with Bombardier Recreational Products in Valcourt, Quebec, and the 2010 US National Ski-Doo Dealer of the Year Ingles Performance of Phoenix, NY, to procure the newly released 600 ACE.

For its third-place zero emissions category win, Clarkson’s fully electric snowmobile powered by a custom lithium iron phosphate battery pack placed second in the range test along with the objective handling event.

Additional sponsors for the team include Boondocker Performance, Dynojet Research Inc., Emitec, Inc., Aristo Catalyst Technology, Klim Technical Riding Gear, Hardwood Products Company, and the New York State Snowmobile Association.

Clarkson’s two snowmobile teams are part of the SPEED program, one of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering hallmark initiatives, exemplifying Clarkson’s “defy convention” approach to education. SPEED promotes multidisciplinary, project-based learning opportunities for more than 350 undergraduates annually. Projects involve engineering design, analysis, and fabrication. In addition, students learn real-world business skills, such as budget management, effective teamwork, and communications skills.

Photo: Chris Ingles drives Clarkson University’s internal combustion entry at the 2011 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge acceleration and handling event at Michigan Technological University’s Keweenaw Research Center. (Photo by John Hatch of KRC/MTU.)

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