Teens' vehicle can pile on the miles
The winning team
Members of the Evansville High Mileage Vehicle Club that brought home top honors at a recent UW-Stout competition are: Dylan Schuett, Dylan Jones, Travis White, Adam Erbs, Colin Benedict, Chris Templeton, Alec Bromley, Jake Doran, Gage Badeau, Clark Cybart-Fuson and Aaron Nash. Applied technology teacher Matthew Pederson is the adviser of the club, along with parent Elmer Schuett.
EVANSVILLE The project started back in December, with a group of Evansville High School teens sketching out ideas for a special high-mileage vehicle.
Just a few months later, they'd built a three-wheeled vehicle capable of traveling up to about 380 miles per gallon.
The teens' hard work paid off when they won first place in both the open stock and Briggs & Stratton divisions of a recent regional competition at UW-Stout. They also won Best of Show among about 17 other vehicles entered.
The high-mileage vehicle club is in its fifth year in Evansville, and the vehicles get better and better each year, said club adviser and applied technology teacher Matt Pederson.
This year's work resulted in the best frame, best drive train and best overall vehicle the team's ever had, he said.
"And best crew," one of the boys added.
Despite its fuel-efficient nature, you won't see the teens' vehicle heading down the street. The driver sits just a few inches off the ground with two 20-inch bike tires in front, complete with an engine and a single smaller tire in back. The whole things travels between 15 and 20 mph.
The "woody wagon" or Jeep Wagoneer provided inspiration in the vehicle's design, which features wood paneling over the Styrofoam body. Local businesses donated materials for the project.
Team members signed their names on the front, near a few Band-Aids that covered some "battle scars."
At competition, a team member drives six laps—1 mile—around a triangular track. The driver must complete this distance in less than 20 minutes, said junior Jacob Doran, a member of the club for three years.
"You just go up a hill, turn the corner, kill it and try to coast all the way around … and you do that process six times," he said. "And you have to have the engine running before you finish."
Aerodynamics are not a factor because of the speed, team members said, so the goal is to have the least amount of rolling resistance and be able to coast as far as possible.
Four of the teens that helped build the vehicle said the experience has taught them more about their intended future careers.
Doran enjoys the drafting part of the process while senior Colin Benedict plans to major in automotive restoration in McPherson, Kan. Senior Dylan Schuett plans to study to become a diesel mechanic at Blackhawk Technical College, and senior Dylan Jones plans to study software engineering at UW-Platteville.