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The UM Supermileage Unveiling is June 2!

Come and see the car in the last week before we compete! The team, our many supporters, members of media, and the University community have all been invited to our unveiling event. The event will be hosted at Sesi Motors of Ann Arbor from 3-5pm on June 2, and refreshments are provided. We will also be announcing the name of the car!!! Click the image below to Join the facebook event!

UMSM February Newsletter

The University of Michigan Supermileage team is excited to announce the leaders for next year’s team in this month’s newsletter!  This is an important step for us as we start developing the future of the team and how UM Supermileage will continue to thrive for many many years.

In other news, we are on track to complete the car in April and be able to test until the competition in June.  Everyone on the team is excitedly getting their hands dirty as we manufacture custom parts for our engine and other components!

College of Engineering Design Expo

The assembled steering and suspension systems were on display today at the College of Engineering Design Expo! The event showcases student work across the College, and was a great opportunity for Supermileage members to share the project with the general public. We got some valuable feedback and were excited to have our progress on display for the first time.


We continue to tune the system but preliminary validation of the steering performance yields great results! Some of our members have worked on this all semester as their senior design project, which has been a fantastic integration of curricular education and Supermileage work.

Steering, Suspension, and Body

The steering and suspension linkages have been assembled, and validation testing begins in the coming week. Validation will include roll-down testing, integration checks and alignment tuning. Check out the photo!

In other news, the body team continues with a scale-model for wind-tunnel testing and we are seeking support for the fabrication and materials for our carbon fiber monocoque.

Forward Progress

Fabrication of the steering and suspension has begun! Four of the team members are designing and building the entire steering and suspension system as their capstone senior design project. The steering components in the preliminary prototype are primarily Aluminum, and the system was designed to be as close to perfect steering alignment as possible. The team even took inspiration from crew team racing boats in their pursuit of a lightweight, compact and elegant steering system that will minimize energy loss. Stay tuned for pictures of the system in fabrication and testing!

Body Team Work

The body team is getting a workout today as they assemble what we are calling an ‘integration silhouette,’ a 3-dimensional plywood shadow of the designed body shape, which will be valuable for all the teams as we approach systems integration and packaging milestones.

New Year

Check out our first ever newsletter!

Our team of passionate undergraduate and graduate students are determined to uphold Michigan’s winning tradition in automotive competitions.  We’re already deep into designing our original 3,300 mile-per-gallon vehicle, and with major design reviews for the body, engine, and chassis sub-teams this month, we are going at full throttle.

Read on to learn more about our innovative design work and the story of Michigan engineers pushing the limits of efficient technology.

The engineering division is divided up into three sub-teams: body, engine, and chassis.  Currently, all sub-teams are finalizing their design plans to ensure that each design optimizes power output, ensures the safety of the driver, and meets the competition regulations.


The body team is concocting a structural monocoque design that will support the chassis loads and serve as the sleek aerodynamic outer shell of the vehicle.  The system will satisfy mass and drag requirements, and the team is validating the design with the  use of simulation software. As we learn more about the sophisticated composite materials and fabrication processes, we are creating a scaled validation model for wind-tunnel testing.


The chassis team spent the summer analyzing basic vehicle dynamics and designing an ’alpha’ frame to serve as a test bed for other internal chassis components. This will be instrumental in validating the steering and suspension later this fall.

The steering, suspension, monocoque interfaces, and transmission will all have a significant contribution to the vehicle’s overall efficiency performance.


Meanwhile, the engine team is diligently working toward their final decisions to optimize engine performance.  Some of these decisions include determining the spark plug location, modifying the Briggs & Stratton cylinder, and achieving stroke increase within the piston.

First Year

The UM Super-Mileage team has had a successful first year, starting off the design approach with a requirements definition phase. The requirements for the subsystems were determined according to our goal fuel economy of 3300 miles per gallon, and the team members defended their work at our first external review in February. With this, we transitioned into the design phase, where we have begun by defining an “Alpha” prototype as a predecessor to the “Beta” car we hope to take to the SAE Competition in June of 2012.

Other milestones the team reached in its first year include obtaining sponsorship from the University of Michigan and gaining membership as a team in the Wilson Student Team Project Center on the engineering campus. We are also thrilled to announce our first corporate sponsor in Traffic Signs, Inc. The team has grown to include several dozen members and recently attended the 2011 SAE Supermileage Competition as a fantastic learning opportunity. We will follow the competition with a design review and lessons learned, and move forward with our 2012 entry.

On the Move!

We are on the move! Our first semester was full of exciting developments such as University of Michigan sponsorship, positive external relations and a great start to the design process. We will begin this semester with a formal requirements review and then move forward. Many thanks to all who have been instrumental and inspirational in getting this team off the ground, and we look forward to another semester full of new exciting progress!