Engineers to Detroit for Shell Eco-Marathon

by Amy Radwanski, Public Relations Writer

A student engineering team from Cedarville University will compete in the 2015 Shell Eco-marathon in Detroit, Michigan, April 9-12. This is the first year the competition will be held in Detroit, as the teams race the streets alongside the Cobo Center.

The Shell Eco-marathon Americas is an event where college and high school students race ultra-energy-efficient vehicles.  Leading up to the competition, students seek ways to solve current and future energy challenges. To introduce the public to the Eco-marathon, Shell invited Cedarville to the 2015 Detroit Auto Show in January to demonstrate “Urbie,” its Urban Concept car.

At the Shell Eco-marathon, the Cedarville Super Mileage team will race its three cars: “Gold Lighting II,” in the Prototype Gasoline category; “Sting,” in the Prototype Battery Electric category; and “Urbie,” in the Urban Concept Gasoline category. The prototype category vehicles are smaller, getting the highest gas mileage with the newest technologies, but are not practical street vehicles. The Urban Concept category vehicle is more practical and street legal.

In last year’s Shell Eco-marathon held in Houston, “Gold Lightning II” placed 13th in its category, “Sting” placed fifth, and “Urbie” did not place in the competition. This year, the team has set goals to make the top 5 for all of its vehicles in their respective categories.

“This international competition challenges the students in many disciplines of engineering we teach at Cedarville,” said Larry Zavodney, Ph.D., senior professor of mechanical engineering. “We design and build ultra-efficient vehicles in order to get extremely high mileage.”

Each year, mechanical, electrical and computer engineering and computer science students team up with students from various other majors to manage the cars’ technologies. Zavodney said they have to learn “basic machining and composite fabrication skills” to contribute to the team. This provides many new skills for the students, including application experience, the opportunity to compete and networking with industry professionals.

Team leader Tyler Dicks, junior computer engineering major from Chattanooga, Tennessee, has worked on the team for three years and has secured an internship position this summer with GE Aviation due to these opportunities.

“Anything that’s worth doing these days in engineering is difficult and it takes a lot of people to get it done,” said Dicks. “So, being able to work in a team is something that’s really valuable for potential employers.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,620 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings.