Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Saskatchewan Polytechnic eco car finishes second at Sonoma Raceway

Next stop for students – Shell Eco Marathon Drivers’ World Championship Grand Final in London, England

April 25, 2018 - Saskatchewan Polytechnic students have proven they have what it takes on the raceway. The SaskEco Urban Concept car finished in second place at the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas Challenge at the Sonoma Raceway in California last week. The energy efficiency competition brought together over 1,000 students from across North and South America. The placing marks the first Canadian car to earn a spot in the final competition in London, England this July.

Sask Polytech students designed, built and tested two vehicles in the Urban Concept and Prototype categories. With a result of 266 km per litre fuel efficiency, Sask Polytech earned a second place finish in the Urban Concept category and a tenth place finish in the Prototype category.

“I’m very proud of both of our student teams and their accomplishments,” says Tim Muench, program head for the Mechanical and CAD/CAM Engineering programs, who travelled with the teams to support them on the track at Sonoma Raceway. “Two top ten finishes against leading post-secondary institutions from across North and South America is very impressive.”

The body of Urban Concept car was 3D printed at the Sask Polytech Saskatoon Campus and the frame is made of carbon fiber from recycled hockey sticks. A two-litre pop bottle was used to pressurize the fuel system and the starter is from an electric drill. Under the direction of Muench and designated faculty advisor Andrew Baerg, Sask Polytech Mechanical and CAD/CAM Engineering Technology students designed, built and raced the car to the finish line.

“We are incredibly proud to have had such a strong finish at the Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition,” said Dr. Larry Rosia, president and CEO. “Our students’ performance speaks to the quality of our programs and the commitment of our Saskatchewan Polytechnic faculty and staff who guided and supported this effort. In addition, our students demonstrated that innovative and practical solutions are possible to meet the challenge of sustainable energy for mobility purposes. The future looks promising.”

The Shell Eco-marathon is an annual competition in which participants can win awards for on-track performance as well as in off-track categories such as safety and vehicle design. In April a regional Drivers’ World Championship race takes place at Shell Eco-marathon Asia, Shell Eco-marathon Americas, and Shell Eco-marathon Europe. The top three winning teams from Asia and Americas travel to Shell Eco-marathon Europe to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship Grand Final. The Grand Final will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase Sask Polytech and its exceptional students on the world stage.

The CAD/CAM Engineering Technology program is a two-year diploma offered at the Saskatoon campus. Students develop the knowledge and skills needed to put computer and engineering principles to work. They learn mechanical engineering design, advanced 3D CAD design and analysis, manufacturing automation and robotics, prototyping, Additive Manufacturing (industrial 3D printing), computer systems and networking.

Mechanical Engineering Technology is a two-year diploma program offered at the Saskatoon campus. The program focuses on mechanical design and drafting, manufacturing, industrial and HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) systems and process instrumentation. Students learn how to apply scientific principles to solve basic engineering problems.

This is the second year Sask Polytech has completed in the Shell Eco-Marathon Americans Challenge.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic serves 28,000 distinct students through applied learning opportunities at campuses in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon, and through extensive distance education opportunities. Programs serve every economic and public service sector. As a polytechnic, the organization provides the depth of learning appropriate to employer and student need, including certificate, diploma and degree programs, and apprenticeship training. Saskatchewan Polytechnic engages in applied research, drawing on faculty expertise to support innovation by employers, and providing students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills.

Prototype car (below)

Eco car Prototype ready to go to technical inspection.jpg

Prototype car (below)

Eco car Prototype - Dimensional checks.jpg

Urban Concept car (below)

Eco car Urban Concept - Almost Ready for Technical Inspection.jpg

Both Urban Concept car and Prototype car (below)

eco car Opening Ceremonies.jpg

Urban Concept car (below)

Eco car Urban Concept - Picture.jpg



Prototype car car (above)

Urban Concept car (above)

Urban Concept car in the race for second place! (above)