Last summer, a team of dedicated Oregon State University engineering students began work on a brand-new electric racing car named the Beaver Bolt. They worked through the school year to complete the vehicle, which debuted in its first big race April 23-24.
The team placed second in the Shell EcoMarathon in Detroit, Michigan, competing against 13 other teams. The Beaver Bolt traveled with an efficiency of 8600 mpg equivalency (414 km/kWH).
Led by advisor Christopher Hoyle from the College of Engineering’s School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering , the crew was comprised of members of the Oregon State American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) club, led by Chase Jones and Austin Sandifer, as well as Mechanical and Industrial and Electrical Engineering capstone team members.
“This is a great showing for their first year,” Hoyle said. “They worked hard and were well organized, and it paid off.”
The marathon challenges students around the world to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car possible. There are three international marathons, with the American version taking place in Detroit. The Beaver Bolt team competed in the prototype/battery-electric category.
During the event, team members also gave back to fellow competitors. Senior electrical engineer Brian Bove used his down time during the marathon to assist other competitors with electrical issues, without which help they may have missed the chance to race.
The students’ participation in the competition was made possible by a number of fundraising efforts, as well as round-the-clock work before the marathon to complete the project. The team raised $25,000 in cash and materials from donors. Members of MIME, EECS and the College of Business also worked together to make the event a reality for the students.
“This competition challenges engineering students to design a vehicle that is relevant to the technological needs on the national agenda,” Hoyle said, “green, sustainable and efficient transportation.”