National Fluid Power Association
Students test designs at NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge

Winners Announced for 2024 NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge

May 22, 2024
Northern Illinois University and Kennesaw State University were named Overall Champions for their vehicle designs utilizing fluid power technologies.

The National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) has announced the Overall Champions for its 2024 Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge, Northern Illinois University and Kennesaw State University. Student teams from these universities were honored for their design of a fluid power-based vehicle which was put through various races during a final competition event.  

NFPA's Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge is an annual competition for university and college students which asks them to redesign a bicycle and use fluid power as the power transmission technology. Teams of students design and test their vehicles throughout the school year and in the spring race them against other teams from across the U.S. at final competition events. 

While the vehicle design is up to the students, there are three aspects which are required: 

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

The goal is to provide students with an opportunity to work with hydraulics and pneumatics, and hopefully inspire future careers in fluid power. For some students, involvement in the vehicle challenge is their first introduction to this form of power transmission

Students Honored for Their Fluid Power Vehicle Designs

NFPA member companies Norgren and Danfoss Power Solutions hosted this year's final competition events. During those events the student designed vehicles were pitted against one another in four races — sprint, efficiency, regen and endurance — after which Overall Champions are selected. 

The 2024 event had 22 teams with 162 total students participating. Per NFPA, 30 different member companies served as sponsors, mentors and judges during the final competition as well as the school year to aid the students with their vehicle development.  

Winners at the Norgren-hosted event, held April 10-12 in Littleton, CO, were: 

  • 1st Place: Kennesaw State University
  • 2nd Place: University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • 3rd Place: Texas A&M University

Winners at the Danfoss-hosted event, held April 24-26 in Ames, IA, were: 

  • 1st Place: Northern Illinois University
  • 2nd Place: North Carolina A&T
  • 3rd Place: SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Additional awards are given out during the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge final competitions as well to honor specific achievements. Norgren sponsors a prize for the Best Use of Pneumatics; Murray State University and Kennesaw State University were recipients of this award.

There is also an award for Best Use of Electronics, sponsored by IFP Motion Solutions Inc., which was awarded to the University of Akron and Texas A&M State University.

Other awards given out during both final competition events include an award for each of the four races the fluid power-based vehicles compete in, presentation awards, and six Judges' Choice awards, one each for design, safety, workmanship, teamwork, sportsmanship and perseverence.  

The full list of winners for each of these individual awards can be found on the NFPA's website.

View our media gallery to see images from the 2023 NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Executive Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is executive editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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