Students clean up the competition at snowmobile challenge

March 14, 2014
UW-Platteville clean snowmobile

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — University of Wisconsin-Platteville students in Society of Automotive Engineers recently participated in the 2014 SAE Clean Snowmobile challenge that took place at Michigan Tech. The team won the International Engineering and Manufacturing (Woody’s) Award for Best Acceleration, achieving speeds of 73 mph; and the HB Performance Systems Award, for its implementation of the HB Trail Trac system.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is an engineering competition open to university members of SAE. Its purpose is to challenge engineering students to reengineer an existing snowmobile to reduce emissions and noise.

According to Dr. David Kunz, mechanical and industrial engineering department chair and faculty advisor for the team, UW-Platteville has been a contender at the Clean Snowmobile Challenge since its origination.

Kunz also said that along with a history of success for the team, the students’ classroom experience gave them proper skills necessary to take home the two awards.

“The idea is for students to use coursework to develop an approach to the problem that they are given in the challenge,” said Kunz. “We have a technical elective in noise control, for example, that relates directly to the challenge of noise control in a snowmobile.”

Kunz said that the students who participate in this event are moving toward doing really strong engineering work and have been approaching the challenge earlier each year.

“Emission control is a very complex topic for students to really learn and understand,” said Kunz.

Not only does the event benefit students by allowing them to apply their

knowledge, but they are also given the opportunity to network in their professional field. The university’s participation at these events allows students to make professional contacts through the competition, which can lead to a career in the industry of mechanical engineering for snowmobiles. Kunz said that many graduates from the team have even moved on to a professional career at snowmobile companies such as Polaris. 

(Photo courtesy of Michigan Tech.)


Contact: Dr. David Kunz, mechanical and industrial engineering, (608) 342-1431,

Written by: Jessica Mueller, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,



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