Kettering University's Snow Dogs took the bronze medal in the 2003 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Clean Snowmobile Challenge competition at Michigan Technological University (MTU) March 19 to 22.
The team tied for first in last year's Challenge and was second in 2001. Kettering, one of only two Michigan teams in this year's competition, also received the Most Practical Solution Award, second place in the emissions and noise category, and first place in the static display category.
A blown hose knocked the Snow Dogs out of the endurance run completely, which affected their overall placement. But they are enthusiastic about next year's competition, already planning to start work on the new chassis "really soon," said Erin Kampman,of North Branch, Mich., the 2003 team captain. "Hopefully we can find another clean alternative like the Diahatsu engine," she said. "We may still use it (the engine), but we're also looking at other options."
The competitors faced temperatures in the 30s and heavy rain at the primary test site, MTU's Keweenaw Research Center. However, the snow and the team members held up under the spring-like weather, and all of the events in the Challenge were completed.
"The weather was horrible," said Kampman, "the teams had to drive an hour north to Copper Harbor for the endurance run, and even there the snow was bad, like the kind you find in snow cones."
This marked the first year MTU hosted the Challenge, the Society of Automotive Engineers' newest collegiate design competition. A dozen teams of student engineers and their snow machines from across the U.S. and Canada converged on MTU March 19 to 22 with the goal of reducing emissions and noise while maintaining or improving snowmobile performance.
Teams participating in the Clean Snowmobile Challenge include Clarkson University in New York, Colorado State University, Idaho State University, Kettering University in Flint, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State University-Mankato, State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of Idaho, the University of Waterloo in Ontario, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and the University of Wyoming.