beaver bolt racecar
The “Beaver Bolt” battery-electric vehicle built by Oregon State University ASME student chapter on the streets of Detroit preparing for the Shell Eco-Marathon. Photo credit: Mark Lotspeich

ASME Students' Design Focuses on High Fuel Efficiency Competition

The OSU ASME student chapter’s Beaver Bolt Racing team, advised by Dr. Chris Hoyle, debuted their first-ever competition-class, high fuel efficiency vehicle at the Shell Eco-Marathon in Detroit this spring.

The Beaver Bolt’s top performance traveling 257 miles using one kilowatt-hour of battery power brought them to a second place finish behind seasoned competitors Université de Sherbrooke from Sherbrooke, Canada.

Converted to standard miles-per-gallon, the Beaver Bolt might have traveled 8,670 miles with a gallon of gas. For further comparison, the kilowatt-hour could have run a television for 11 hours or made 40 pieces of toast, according to

The race is really a fuel-efficiency competition where vehicles compete according to design concepts and engine types trying to travel the furthest using the designated unit of fossil fuel or electricity.

“This competition challenges engineering students to design a vehicle that is relevant to the technological needs on the national agenda,” Hoyle said, “green, sustainable and efficient transportation. As first-time competitors, the results pleased the group’s advisor. “This is a great showing for their first year; they worked hard and were well organized, and it paid off, he said.

The team, led by mechanical engineering students Chase Jones and Austin Sandifer, already spot some room for improvement in their design, including further lightweighting the 99-lb. car.

They raised about $25,000 in cash and materials from sponsors and donors including the College of Engineering and the OSU Foundation as well as HP, ESCO, Atira Systems, Hydro Temp and many others.

The team logged hundreds of hours over the year to perfect things ahead of their inaugural trip to the competition, logging a history of production videos on the chapter website. Contributions include an outstanding effort from Brian Bove, School of EECS senior, who leading an EECS Capstone team designed of the electrical system. On race day, Bove helped numerous competitors troubleshoot and prepare for the race.

The Shell Eco-marathon is a unique competition that challenges students around the world to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car. With three annual events in Asia, Americas and Europe, student teams take to the track to see who goes further on the least amount of fuel.

The MIME project to build the car -- which the team named “Beaver Bolt” and named themselves "Beaver Bolt Racing" in a tribute to the school's highly successful Beaver Baja Racing -- began in summer 2015, and relied on all members of ASME for their engineering skills, time as well as fundraising and donation initiative teams.

The ASME student chapter sent nine students to the competition. But the work involved a much broader cross-section of the ASME group and well as extensive senior project work for academic credit through Capstone Design.

Work to complete the Beaver Bolt included the academic efforts four different engineering senior Capstone Design teams, and two of these projects won the prestigious 2016 Boeing Engineering Excellence Award at the annual College of Engineering Undergraduate Expo in May. Representing School of MIME for the Boeing Award were the students from project team no. 81.2 “Shell Eco Marathon Aerodynamics” -- Seth Haddix, Dorrington Lewis and Mark Lotspeich.

Representing School of EECS with the capstone project “Shell Eco Marathon Electric Vehicle Control System” were Brian Bove, Brent Madden and Samuel Kurtz. Congratulations to the group, advised by Dr. Chris Hoyle, on their great success this year.

A third mechanical engineering Capstone team coordinated the build of the chassis, and a fourth team from industrial engineering built support tools for project management.

Shell Eco-Marathon Competitors

Design Team Lead: Chase Jones
Business Team Lead: Austin Sandifer

Chassis Team
Lead: Taylor Rose
Phillip Heisel
Adam Morey

Aero Team
Lead: Chance Lewis
Mark Lotspeich
Seth Haddix

Electrical Team Lead: Brian Bove

Advisor: Dr. Chris Hoyle