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Idaho Clean Snowmobile Team Placed Fourth in National SAE Challenge

March 25, 2020

The University of Idaho College of Engineering's Idaho Clean Snowmobile Team earned fourth place overall in the gasoline spark-ignited class at the 2020 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Clean Snowmobile Challenge held March 9-14. The U of I team competed against 23 teams across the U.S. and Canada in a weeklong challenge to produce innovative solutions to make cleaner, quieter and more efficient snowmobiles that are practical for manufacturers and enthusiasts alike. The College of Engineering team was one of only a few to use a two-stroke engine preferred for mountain riding but known for being louder and dirtier. The interdisciplinary team of engineering students earned best endurance fuel economy, in-service emissions, subjective handling, best value and best design in the spark-ignited class. Their machine was the third-quietest spark-ignited snowmobile in the competition, and the team placed second overall for its technical presentation and had the third-best design paper.

U of I teams have been participating since 2001 in the competition, which is now held in Houghton, Michigan. The Idaho team has more than 50 awards to its name, including nine years of overall top three placement. Preparation for the competition is a year-long effort. The U of I Clean Snowmobile Team meets regularly each week to design, develop and test solutions to reduce emissions and create a quieter snowmobile while maintaining performance and power. Learn more about the Clean Snowmobile Team and the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge.

The Idaho Clean Snowmobile Team prepares to test their two-stroke snowmobile engine for cleanliness, sound reduction and efficiency.

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at