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Rendering of the new supermileage vehicle.

School of Engineering and Computer Science to debut new supermileage vehicle summer 2018

by Hannah Fair, Public Relations Writer

Cedarville University's School of Engineering and Computer Science will return to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Supermileage competition for the first time since 2010. And it's bringing a new car.

The competition will be held June 7-8, 2018, in Marshall, Michigan. Cedarville University competed in this event in 1991 through 2010, the same year Cedarville students made the cover of the SAE MOMENTUM magazine.

The new supermileage car, named Karcharías (Greek word for “shark”), was designed by mechanical engineering students in the class of 2017. This year, four mechanical engineering seniors will make the blueprint a reality as their senior design project. The team will be assisted by a group of underclassmen, who will help construct the car and the new engine.

SAE supermileage cars compete to travel the farthest on one gallon of gas. The mechanical engineering department’s goal for Karcharías is 3,800 miles per gallon. The current record, held by Laval University, is 3,788 miles per gallon. Karcharías has a teardrop-shaped body, with two wheels in the front and one in the rear. It resembles a shark, like its name implies.

The most important components to effectively achieve supermileage are an aerodynamic shape, a high-efficiency engine and transmission, easy-rolling chassis (the base frame of a motor vehicle) and skillful driving.

Dr. Larry Zavodney, senior professor of mechanical engineering and the team’s adviser, is hopeful as his team prepares for competition. “All these cars start as ideas on paper,” he said. He uses the time it takes to prepare for this competition to teach students about working cooperatively and problem-solving.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 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. For more information about the University, visit

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