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Stylized Text: Horizon Hydrogen Automotive Challenge  Rules.

Introduction and Overview

The goal of the Hydrogen Horizon Automotive Challenge (H2AC) is to provide hydrogen fuel cell and automotive design experience to high school students, as well as educate the students and public about renewable energy solutions that address climate change problems.  During the H2AC, student teams design, construct and drive a 1:10 scale remote controlled (RC) car, powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology.  Cars are judged on design, construction and performance.  Teams are also evaluated on their knowledge of fuel cell technology.  Each team’s effort is focused toward the final event - a track race where the best design, construction and driving techniques will pay off with the win!!

Team Eligibility

Teams are made up of 4 - 10 studentsenrolled for the current school year in grades 9, 10, 11 or 12.  Teams of students from public, private or official home school associations are welcome to participate.  Teams from non-school based groups (i.e. scouts, 4H, community groups, etc.) are also welcome to participate; however, members from these teams may not come from a school that also has a team participating in the H2AC.  Teams are selected by an application process and required to sign a Team Commitment form and to purchase the required car parts.

Car Parameters

The dimensions of the H2AC car cannot exceed:

  •           220 mm in width
  •           470 mm in length
  •           160 mm in height
  •           5 mm minimum ground clearance
Each vehicle must have a space on both sides large enough to display a 2” x 2” number decal.

Each entry begins construction with a chassis kit and motor provided by Horizon Fuel Cells Americas, Inc. Some parts may be modified at the team’s discretion; however, the fuel cell, hydrostik, H-Cell 2.0, control panel, battery and the motor may not be modified, changed or enhanced.  Modifications to any of these parts will result in disqualification.

Modifications to the other parts are permitted.  These modifications must be documented on the Design Process Form.  Modifications that cost in excess of $50.00 must be offset by sponsorship and/or fundraising and must be listed on the Design Process Form.

The material for the body of the car can be any type of lightweight material.  The body must be fabricated by the team.  The car body must include a way to show that the fuel cell is currently in use.  This could be a transparent section on the body above the indicator lights on the fuel cell, or an indicator mounted on the outside of the body that does not modify the fuel cell.  If the indicator light will require modification of the fuel cell assembly, prior written permission must be given for the team to proceed.  Any car that does not include this feature will not be permitted to race.  A realistic spoiler is allowed if it is to scale.  It must not be higher than the roof of the car.  A high quality, professional looking finish on the body is requested.  

If the wheels are modified or changed they may not exceed a diameter of 66mm or exceed a width of 26mm.

The assigned car number is to be displayed on the two sides of the car and on a spot visible from the top of the car.  The number is to be a minimum of 2 inches tall and a minimum of 1” wide for the numeral ‘1’ and a minimum of 1 ½ inches wide for the remainder of the numerals.  The race numbers will be assigned to the team by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) and may be either a decal or painted onto the car, and may match the overall design of the car in font and color.  Decals for event sponsors may be affixed to other areas of each car. Teams must integrate the Horizon and FSEC logos within their design as well; these decals will be provided to the teams.  Car numbers and any decals may not obstruct viewing of the hydrogen indicator apparatus.  All other areas of the body of the car are available for school and team identification.

The vehicle must be safe to contestants, spectators and other vehicles (i.e. no sharp edges, etc.).


Failure to meet these expectations will result in disqualification..

Design Process Form

The Design Process Form must include a component list of all parts purchased for your vehicle, including the name of the supplier and the price of the part.  Additionally it must include any allowable modifications that cost in excess of $50.00, and the documentation of the sponsorship and fundraising done to implement these modifications.  Additionally any outside (non-team member) labor (i.e. machine shop) must also be listed.

H2 Presentation

Each team is required to compete in the presentation part of the H2AC.  This is the chance for the teams to showcase their expertise, knowledge and talents that may not be obvious in the race.  The team’s presentation is to be a 8 - 10 minute video presentation that identifies and responds to a critical issue related to energy and transportation within the local context of Florida.  Students are expected to spend approximately 2 minutes of their presentation identifying the issue and stating why it is critical, outlining the economic, environmental and social implications of the problem.  Students are to use the remaining presentation time to present their solution and a framework for real-world implementation.

Presentations should touch on at least 3 of 6 of the following topic areas:

  • Climate Change
  • Electric Mobility
  • Energy Storage
  • Hydrogen [Fuel Cells; Technology; Distribution]
  • Renewable Energy
  • Sustainable Transportation

Teams will be judged on content knowledge, creativity, and presentation skills.  Points will be deducted from a team’s presentation score for falling outside the 8 - 10 minute time frame in either direction.  Additional time will be allocated for questions and answers by the judging team after each video presentation.

Teams must submit one copy of the presentation by 5:00pm EST on May 6, 2016. The team should also bring a back-up copy of the presentation with them.  FSEC is not responsible for any presentation that is lost in transit or that is unable to play on standard DVD players or with standard video software on IBM and Apple PCs.  All A/V compatibility issues must be discussed with event personnel prior to the day of the event.  All video presentations will become the property of Horizon Fuel Cell Americas, Inc. and the Florida Solar Energy Center.

Design Judging

Teams must submit their cars for Design Judging at the posted time.  Cars will be judged on vehicle design, craftsmanship, durability and innovation.  Teams will also be scored on their knowledge of fuel cells and the working of their car.

Cars will be impounded at the designated Design Judging time. Teams will be called in during the design judging of their car to answer questions regarding the design, construction and driving of their cars, including how the fuel cell and power train assembly functions.

Vehicle Race

Track Parameters

The 2016 H2AC race is to be held inside the Visitor’s Center at the Florida Solar Energy Center.   The track lanes are at least 3 ft. wide, with a configuration that includes both right-hand and left-hand turns.  The track surface is carpet. The official length of the track is approximately 40 meters.

Teams will be able to check out the racetrack Saturday morning between 8:00 and 9:00am.  Each team may have up to 10 minutes of practice time on the track. This practice time is at the team’s risk, and no extra time before Design Judging will be given for a team to repair damage sustained during practice.

Cars will be lined up in a staggered configuration behind the starting line.  Drivers and officials will be positioned on the balcony overlooking the racetrack.   Only team members who are currently driving and Race Officials will be permitted on the balcony during the race.

Race Rules

The race will be run in four 10 minute heats.  Each heat will be part of a one hour block that will also include assigned times for design judging and team interviews. 

Each heat must be driven by a different team member.  In teams that have more than four team members, the team captain must drive one heat; the other drivers will be determined by a random draw prior to the start of the race.

The start of each race heat will be preceded by a ‘five minute’ a ‘three minute’ and a ‘one minute’ announcement.  All cars must be in the assigned starting spot, and all team members must clear the track lane at the three minute warning.  The race may start at any time after the one minute announcement to allow for clock timing; the one minute is not exact.  The start will be counted down from 10 seconds, and a green flag will waive at the Start-Finish line.  The race will begin with each vehicle staggered at different locations on the track, evenly spaced to avoid collisions during the start.  Cars that move out of place before the green flag is waved will incur a 1 lap penalty.

Teams will be scored on the number of completed laps, minus any penalties, during each heat.  There will not be a pit area, or any extra time given for repairs during the heats.  A vehicle that quits running during the heat for whatever reason must be handled by an official.  Team members may not enter the track area after the start of the race.  A car that must be retrieved for whatever reason will be picked up by the course marshal and brought to the nearest outside perimeter of the track where a team member will meet them to pick it up.

Although course marshals will endeavor to enter and exit the track as quickly and safely as possible, it’s the responsibility of the drivers to avoid officials that need to enter the track area. No compensation will be given to a car/team that sustains car damage by hitting or trying to avoid a course marshal.  Because of this, course marshals will wait for nearby cars to pass before picking up a broken or overturned car.  It is the team and driver responsibility to avoid situations that require the course marshal to intervene and retrieve their car.  The course marshal is not responsible for the length of time it takes to retrieve a car, and no time compensation will be given.  A car that can be repaired and returned to the track during the heat will be permitted to reenter at the designated location and the lap count will continue from where it left off.  If a car cannot be repaired in time to return it during the heat that is in progress, it will join the race for the next heat.

Cars that are driven recklessly, aggressively, or cause unnecessary crashes will receive a warning.  Subsequent warnings for the same action, during the same heat, will incur lap penalties.  Additionally, unprofessional and/or unsportsmanlike behavior (including language not suitable for a young audience) in the racetrack area by team members or coaches will result in the same warning/penalty procedure.  Race officials reserve the right to disqualify a team from a heat based on the severity and/or persistence of the behavior.

Cars whose indicator lights show that the car is not utilizing the fuel cell in its operation will be pulled from the heat.  If the team can repair the car, or replace the hydrosticks (assuming they haven’t used their replacements already) to make the car operational on fuel cell power, can return to the race for the next heat.

Between heats, teams may repair or adjust their cars, time permitting.  Teams may call upon a coach/expert during this time for advisement, but the coach/expert may not handle the car or any tools. 

Teams will be provided with (4) hydrosticks for the race—two at the beginning of the first heat, and two more between whichever heats the team chooses.  These are the only hydrosticks that may be used during the race.  No other ‘refueling’ will be permitted, including battery recharging. Batteries will be tagged prior to the race and impounded between heats.  For the integrity of the race as well as safety, tampering with, replacing, or recharging the batteries during the event will result in disqualification from the race.

The race is won by the car that completes the most laps in the four heats.  Each lap is counted when the car passes through the timing loop at the Start-Finish line.  No consideration will be made for partial laps gained or lost if a car leaves the course or is removed by a course marshal.  Cars are not required to be running at the finish to be classified.  The checkered flag will be waved to the current leader as the car crosses the Start-Finish line for the first time after the end of the fourth heat, and all cars that are currently on the track complete their final lap.  Once cars cross the Start-Finish line after the waving of the checkered flag, they must stop and not complete any more laps.

In the event that two or more cars complete the same number of laps, the car that crossed the Start-Finish line to complete that lap first shall be the winner.  In the event of a dead-heat finish, the winner shall be the car that started further back in the initial start, since it will have covered the further distance.  In the event that the checkered flag is not shown to the correct car or is shown more than one lap late, the race will be considered to have been completed when the scheduled time limit was reached and all cars distance will be the classified on the first lap they completed after the scheduled time.

All decisions of the H2AC judges and officials are final.

H2AC Awards

The awards will be as follows:
1st Place Race - Team Award (most total laps)
1st Place Race - Driver Award (most laps in a single heat)
1st Place Design
1st & 2nd Place Presentation