University of Michigan students build super mileage car - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

University of Michigan students build super mileage car

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Super mileage car built by University of Michigan students  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Super mileage car built by University of Michigan students (Credit: Fox 2 News)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WJBK) -

It's a challenge that gets students thinking and creating some amazing vehicles.  The Shell Eco-marathon Americas takes place in April in Houston, Texas, and some University of Michigan students will be participating with a car they created.

"This car is made out of carbon fiber, so we're able to use that to lightweight this car as much as possible," said David Coons.

It weights about 110 pounds, and you won't believe the gas mileage.

About 20 students on the U of M Super Mileage Team put their heads together to design and create the three-wheeled car.  They said it will get more than 3,000 miles a gallon, which would set the North American record for fuel economy.

"It seems pretty crazy to say 3,000 miles to a gallon, but we're pretty confident with the way that we developed the car that as long as everything works together and plays nicely with each other, the car is going to get that goal," Coons said.

The students built the car using computer models.  They focused on keeping it lightweight and aerodynamic.  They said they did a lot of on the fly thinking during the construction.  They even made their own windows by heating up plastic sheets bought in a hardware store.

The engine for the super mileage car started out as an ordinary lawn mower engine.

"We were able to modify it.  We were running it much differently, and now we're going to get over 3,000 miles to a gallon with it," said Coons.

U of M will compete against dozens of teams.  The energy efficient vehicles will hit the streets of Houston from April 5-7.

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