GOSHEN — Imagine a car that gets 1,000 miles per gallon.
Thirty Goshen High School students are working on developing a car just like that.
The students are part of the high school’s Super Mileage Club that builds small vehicles to be as efficient as possible. Of the 30 students who work on the cars during club and class time, 13 students and three instructors will be heading to Houston in April to test the efficiency of their vehicles against both high schools and colleges’ teams in the Shell EcoMarathon.
Students have competed in the national contest the past few years with cars in the gasoline prototype division. This year, the students are also converting a car to a diesel system. The largest challenge with that is fitting the significantly larger and heavier diesel engine into what’s supposed to be a light, compact vehicle, club officials said.
The students don’t tinker with vehicles’ engines much, but focus on making the frame as light as possible and the entire car roll as easily as possible, said J.J. Johnson, a Goshen High School engineering technology teacher and the Super Mileage Club’s instructor. That means using as little metal as they can and continually trying for lighter designs.
This year, the students are creating one car’s frame out of carbon fiber, which will be much lighter than the fiberglass they have worked with before. Students also 3-D prints for many parts of their cars, which allows students to design and create pieces quickly and inexpensively.
Wesley Priem, a senior at Goshen High School who is in his third year in the Super Mileage Club, said that he enjoys seeing the cars emerge through the design and build process.
“I remember when that car was just a roll of fiberglass and a bunch of balsa, and then how it did at Houston,” Priem said while gesturing to one of the club’s vehicles.