This month, the JBS Super Mileage Vehicle Club (SMVC) is sending cars to two competitions.
The gasoline-powered team will return to the International Shell Eco-Marathon held in Detroit. Led by Matthew Williams and William Bartnett, juniors and co-presidents of the club, this team has built an entirely new car, with hopes of reaching 500+ miles per gallon. “Our new car has a lighter frame and a more aero-dynamic body,” Williams said. “With these improvements, and the engineering knowledge we learned from last year’s competition, we have high expectations.”
The biodiesel team is headed to the annual state competition in Warrensburg, MO. This team, composed of senior Dhruv Shetty and junior Kwayera Burrows, as well as many first-year participants, has been making improvements and alterations to last year’s car. With guidance from the faculty sponsors, Dan Barton (IT & Engineering) and Eric Knispel (Science), in addition to help from sophomore mechanic Edrick Joe, they are learning the ins and outs of how the car works and what improvements to make.
The process of building a car from scratch and re-engineering the existing car includes many different skill levels. From CAD drawings to welding, to testing and planning, the car takes a lot of hard work and a diverse skill set. “I love how building the car takes skills from different subjects like Math and Science, and how [the team] applies them in different ways,” Burrows said. “It’s really cool to be a part of and watch it come together.”
In advance of the competitions, the teams are putting in long hours of testing and tweaking braking systems, fuel, and safety features. “We have two teams, two cars, and two different fuel types,” Barton commented. “To me that is opportunity! There are more people who have the opportunity to see an actual car driving down the street that [they] created from scratch, safely, and fuel efficiently. This is the future of transportation and real life application of STEM.”