Tech students were able to garner national attention once again for their award-winning, fuel-efficient vehicles.
Heath Tims, EcoCar faculty adviser, traveled with 19 Tech students to Houston on April 5-7, to compete in the annual Shell Eco-Marathon America’s event.
“The Shell Eco-Marathon is an exciting event that challenges students from around the country with building the most fuel-efficient vehicle they can,” Tims said.
This year the EcoCar team won first place in the Diesel Urban Vehicle category, Tims said.
Nathan Seal, a junior mechanical engineering major, said he served as the leadership board member and was excited to be a part of such a successful group.
“We were able to construct our diesel urban car to yield 315 miles per gallon efficiency, which placed us first in the competition,” Seal said.
The EcoCar team was able to construct and bring four cars to the event in Houston, Seal said.
“It was quite a task because it’s something we’ve never done before,” Seal said. “It was a whole lot of work but our team worked very well together, that being the ultimate reason we were able to produce and compete with four cars.”
The competition was divided into different categories pertaining to what propelled the cars, Seal said.
“We participated in the diesel urban car, urban gasoline and prototype gasoline categories,” Seal said.
Tims said he was satisfied with his team’s effort throughout the year leading up to the competition.
“Every year we have great students who work on this project and this year was no exception,” Tims said. “It is exciting to see our students’ skills grow, allowing them to produce vehicles that not only perform well, but are also recognized for their eye-catching designs.”
Walter Miltenberger, a junior mechanical engineering major, said he served as a team member and did not regret getting involved.
“I totally recommend this experience to anyone looking to learn about what goes on in a car and just getting to learn how to work on a team,” Miltenberger said.
He said he was impressed with the overall setup in Houston and was fortunate he was able to travel to see the team’s work be put on display.
“Houston was amazing; there was so much support for the team it was impossible to not be super enthusiastic and excited about the race,” Miltenberger said. “CenterPoint Energy was there and provided us with a sponsor, so there was a feeling that we had to succeed.”
Tims said he has been involved with the EcoCar event for six years.
“When I first heard about the Shell Eco-Marathon America’s I knew it was something we wanted to get our students involved in,” Tims said. “It was a way that we could inspire them to take what they learn in the class room and use it in a real world project.”
Collin Hosli, a former Tech student and team member of the original EcoCar team, said he was able to gain a career from the competition.
“I was able to get an internship with Shell and was able to find a group I wanted to work with,” Hosli said. “Now here I am working with that group and enjoying my job as we speak.”
Tims said he was impressed with his team members’ ability to find time to work on the project.
“Our students do all of this outside of their classes,” Tims said. “They work nights, weekends, breaks and holidays to build cars that represent Louisiana Tech well.”
The team was happy with their performance this year but they are eager to participate next year, Seal said.
“Anyone with an interest in being a part of this awesome team may join,” Seal said. “You don’t have to have a specific major, we just want people that are serious about what they do and will work as a collaborative effort to achieve a goal.”
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