This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 02, 2003

University of Idaho Sweeps SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge

The University of Idaho took first place in the Society of Automotive Engineers' (SAE) Clean Snowmobile Challenge, held in late March at Michigan Technological University (MTU). The annual event marked its fourth year of challenging university students to produce a snowmobile that is cleaner, more fuel efficient, and quieter than existing models, while still being fun to ride. The University of Idaho took first place in the event's major categories—emissions, noise, and fuel economy—while also performing well in the performance categories. The team used a BMW four-stroke motorcycle engine to achieve its impressive win. See the SAE press release and the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge Web page.

The SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge holds particular significance in light of a March 25th decision by the National Park Service (NPS) to limit snowmobile use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, which connects the two. By the winter of 2004, all snowmobiles entering those parks must use the best available technology, effectively banning the use of snowmobiles with two-stroke engines in the parks. See the NPS press release.

Considered impractical just a few years ago—when the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge began—snowmobiles with four-stroke engines are now being produced by several manufacturers. In fact, Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. recently introduced a four-stroke model that won SnowGoer Magazine's 2003 Sled of the Year award. See the Yamaha press release.