Auto students to compete in Eco-Marathon

BOLERO BEAT— Luis Miramonts, left, makes a sprocket for the team’s vehicle on a CNC mill as Automotive Technology Instructor Adrian Banuelos checks on his work. They are preparing for the Shell Eco-Marathon on April 4. CN/Bryant Mejia


By Bryant Mejia


A small team of students from East Los Angeles College’s Automotive Technology Department will be participating in this year’s annual Shell Eco-Marathon held in Houston,Texas on April 4.

The team will compete with other colleges around the country to design and build the most fuel-efficient vehicle. This will be the third time that ELAC has a team compete in the marathon.

Team advisor and instructer Adrian Banuelos hopes to do better than last year.

“With due process we are getting better over time. We redesign everything from the ground up.

“Compared to last year, we are going to be using a smaller engine, a lighter chassis, reduce the weight considerably and change the rear wheel design,” Banuelos said.

This year’s team has four members, Emigdio Alaniz, Luis Miramonts, Kellen Kunichika and Melinda Tejeda. The team has been preparing for the marathon since last semester, designing and constructing the vehicle as they go.

Kunichika, who has taken part in designing the vehicle said, “We are designing and destroying the vehicle as we go. For most of us on the team, this is the first time using the machines that build the vehicle and because of that our design is constantly changing.”

The goal of the Eco-Marathon is to consume as little fuel as possible over a set distance.

Teams can enter vehicles in two main categories.

The first is futuristic prototypes, where the main purpose of the vehicle’s design is to reduce weight and maximize fuel efficiency. The second category is urban concept.

The objective for urban concept is to build a more conventional 4-wheel road-worthy vehicle.

Vehicles that enter must follow certain dimension requirements and can only run on gasoline,  diesel, biodiesel and ethanol.

Miramonts, who manufactures and creates parts for the team’s vehicle, wrote a computer software for creating components of the vehicle on a CNT machine.

Miramonts explained what the  Eco-Marathon meant to him and why he takes pride and joy in the event, “ It’s a way to represent ELAC and gain experience for engineering. There are few community colleges who compete, so to gain respect for ELAC and show other colleges that we can succeed is great.” Miramont said.

The team is called the Wolf pack and the car’s name is Green Mile 1.

Students are still able to join the team.

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