Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge

The Vehicle Challenge easily embeds into capstone design courses most engineering students take in their senior year and includes exclusive opportunities to connect with industry professionals. Universities are encouraged to participate in the context of their capstone design courses, but student teams in other configurations are welcome.

Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge transparent

hydraulics, Meet the Bicycle

The NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge strives to promote original thinking in a competitive setting by combining two technology platforms that are not normally associated with one another—human-powered vehicles and fluid power (hydraulics and pneumatics). The first, as exemplified by the bicycle, is recognized as extremely efficient in terms of input vs output. The second presents more of a challenge in terms of efficiency, especially at low speeds. A fluid-powered vehicle, then, presents engineers with a familiar yet challenging platform for change. By combining this unlikely pair, the Vehicle Challenge hopes to create an environment that results in uncommon connections and breakthroughs while supporting learning and the growth of fluid power industry knowledge.

Teams are typically required to include these design elements:

  • An accumulator for storing energy
  • An electronic control system for the vehicle
  • Regeneration technology

2024 final competition winners

The NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge final competition takes place in Ames, IA and Littleton, CO. The winners at the Ames Final Competition are:

1st Place: Northern Illinois University

2nd Place: North Carolina A&T

3rd Place: SUNY Polytechnic Institute

The winners at the Littleton Final Competition are:

1st Place: Kennesaw State University

2nd Place: University of Alabama at Birmingham

3rd Place: Texas A&M State University 

Ready to Compete?

We welcome new teams from across the country each year. Contact us at workforce@nfpa.com to get started.

2023 Vehicle Challenge Map