Our focus is to design and build a vehicle to compete in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Supermileage® Competition. The success of a vehicle in this competition relies on high fuel efficiency. Therefore, the design of such vehicle must include aerodynamic, material strength, and engine optimization considerations.
calvin engineering To view more information about Calvin College Engineering and other senior design teams, click here.

SAE Interested in learning more about the SAE Supermileage® Competition? Click here.

Team Updates

As the SAE Supermileage® race date (June 7-8) quickly approaches, Calvin Supermileage would like to keep friends, family, and other supporting individuals updated to our progress.


May 9, 2012: The final design report for this project has been posted! Check it out by clicking on the downloads tab above.


May 7, 2012: The vehicle has finally come together to nearly its final form. The last month has presented some of the most difficult problems in this project dealing with time constraints, shell fabrication, damaged engines, and finicky fuel injectors. Yet this team has persevered and finished an attractive Supermileage vehicle. I’ll let the below media speak for itself.

The SAE Supermileage competition is June 7-8 which means we have roughly one month to put the finishing touches on our vehicle.

Building the Shell from Benjamin Beezhold on Vimeo.

April 10, 2012: Shell fabrication continues. As we press on towards open house night (May 5!), we are focusing on three main tasks this week: beginning Dacron layups for the shell, completing the frame welding, and finishing machining processes for steering components. Many other projects continue but these currently take the spotlight. Be sure to check out the video below!

Priming the Mold from Benjamin Beezhold on Vimeo.

April 4, 2012: Spring break has come and gone and the Engineering Building at Calvin College is bustling with activity. The most recent developments have included frame assembly, continued dynamometer testing, fuel injector installation, and the beginnings of shell fabrication. We received a Styrofoam mold from Betz Industries that will be used to create the contour of the vehicle shell. The next 31 days leading up to senior design open house night will contain long hours of lamination. While the team remains behind schedule, we are confident that we will complete the project on time. The video below shows a time-lapse of hot-wire cutting the Styrofoam shell. Additional pictures show the finished product.

Workstation arranged for laying up Dacron material onto the foam.


Calvin Supermileage Mold Preparation from Benjamin Beezhold on Vimeo.

March 7, 2012: Many things are coming together! Sparks are flying as David perfects his TIG welding skills. Ben is working with a corporate sponsor in effort to produce an exact replica of our shell design using Styrofoam and advanced CNC techniques. Jake has been working closely with Kentwood Cycling to put together a high performance wheel/tire/bearings/planetary shifters package to maximize wheel efficiency. Will is diligently working to redesign aspects of the steering system working to simplify part manufacturing and to decrease weight. Finally, Jon has begun testing our engine using a dynamometer so that the best operation speeds can be attained. Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, check out our frame design below.

CAD print of Calvin Supermileage frame design.

February 27, 2012: Thanks to Jake, our CAD expert, we have completed our shell design. The basic design followed the Funnelback model design (compare to Kammback model). The team has decided to keep the wheels inside the vehicle envelope and to create wheel fairings to reduce any turbulence they might introduce. We are currently pursuing a company for their help in producing a foam mold to lay up fiberglass for the aerodynamic shell. Stay tuned for updates. The images below show the final design for Calvin Supermileage.

Side View.
Front View.

February 15, 2012: Wind tunnel tests are complete. While these tests were initially intended to help determine which aerodynamic shape would be used in the final design, the resulting data failed to detect a significant difference in drag between the two shapes (See Fall PPFS for more details on shapes). Wind tunnel testing still proved to be an excellent learning opportunity providing helpful insight into selecting the final vehicle shell design. See below video for more information on the wind tunnel tests performed.

Wind Tunnel Testing from Benjamin Beezhold on Vimeo.

9 May 2012.