For the past seven months, hundreds of students from all over North America have been working hard on their innovative designs for the Clean Snowmobile Challenge.
Students take a production built snowmobile and reshape, mold and upgrade it. They are tested in a number of different areas including noise, handling, and fuel economy.
??They have to modify it so it will operate on the fuel that I give them. I don??t tell them exactly the content of the fuel. This year the content can be anywhere between 10 percent ethanol to 29 percent ethanol,?? said Director of the Keweenaw Research Center of Michigan Tech, Jay Meldrum.
The competition is divided into two areas: sleds that run off fuel and sleds that run off of a battery charge.
??What??s different than a stock snowmobile is that it [has] a flex fuel sensor. It pretty much pulls fuel from different ranges of ethanol. It [has] cleaner emissions, it has a catalyst and muffler, and it runs different fuel,?? said Michigan Tech student, Dylan Truskolaski.
The electric or zero emissions challenge is running up to 20 miles with one battery charge.
??We have a 3.2 kilowatt battery pack which we estimate will give us about 15 mile or 13 mile range. We have an AC motor,?? said McGill University student, Francis Debroux.
The McGill University team says you cannot tell their sled is electric because they did not modify anything on the chassis, and all of the electric components are hidden inside.
This is the tenth year the Keweenaw Research Center has hosted this event, and once the sleds were pulled outside, it was time for them to head off onto the course.
This challenge was created to educate students in clean and quiet technology, and some of their ideas do end up on production snowmobiles.