Rules and Awards

Details about the rules, requirements and procedures for prize awards should be carefully reviewed in the Overview, Rules and Awards document.

Vehicle Requirements

  • Vehicle propulsion must be accomplished through fluid power (hydraulics or pneumatics) with human power serving as the prime mover in the system. No internal combustion, electric drive motor, chains, belts, or other modes of propulsion are permitted. Gears, chains or belts are allowed in order to transfer power to the fluid power pump/compressor, but a fluid link (oil or air) is required between the pump/compressor and the motor.
  • Vehicle designs must include an energy storage device.
  • Gas pre-charging systems will be available at Final Event location. The total accumulator pressure including the fluid and/or nitrogen gas charge cannot exceed the safe working limits of the storage device and system components. A safe limit rating must be maintained on the fluid power components (manufacturers rating). After pre-race pressurization, additional pressurization can only be supplied as a result of the design, i.e., supplied by the rider and/or the course (braking or gravity).
  • There is no requirement for the method of switching between the circuits, i.e., electronic or manual but the circuitry must be designed to include direct propulsion and regenerative breaking.
  • Vehicles must use environmentally-friendly fluids furnished by the Fluids Supplier.
  • Vehicle design must be for a single rider. The rider must be able to enter, exit, start and stop the vehicle unassisted.


Based on the decisions of the Judging Committee, $13,000 can be awarded in prizes to teams that place in these categories! Award funds are issued either directly to students or to the home university to support future Vehicle Challenge efforts.

Overall Champion

Best Presentations

Best Teamwork

Sprint Race

Efficiency Challenge

Endurance Challenge

Best Design

Best Workmanship

Best Reliability & Safety