The rules are a “work in progress” they grow and change each year as our challenge matures. As the Advisory Board learns from each subsequent competition the rules change to reflect what is gleaned with the goal of promoting and nurturing creative, original thinking that will ultimately lead to breakthroughs in technology. With this in mind the 2012 competition will allow experimental electric vehicles to compete as well as vehicles which feature improvements to existing technology not based on fossil fuels. We are confident that the cross fertilization of ideas from all of these various creative modes of transport will lead us to the spark of originality that will produce the power breakthrough of the future.

Vehicles must be experimental, and nonproduction. The Advisory Board of the Alternate Power Initiative reserves the right to exclude any vehicle from the competition which is deemed unsafe or which does not meet the spirit of the competition.


  1. Vehicle must successfully safely negotiate a predetermined 5 mile course (the National Personal Transportation survey 1990 determined that 63 percent of all automobile trips were less than 5 miles), within 30 minutes following all traffic rules including posted speed limits (30mph max.)
  2. Vehicle must stop with in a safe distance (at 30 miles an hour, 109 feet), this is the equivalent to holding on a 1 in 3.6” incline. All drive wheels must be equipped with a brake. Braking mechanism must be sufficient to overcome propulsion system.
  3. Vehicle must have brake lights.
  4. Vehicles will be inspected before the competition. If a vehicle is determined to be unsafe or not to meet entry rules it will not be allowed to compete until it is modified to correct the problem. Although safety is a prime concern vehicles, entered in this competition do not have to meet Indiana State laws for motor vehicles.  A lead car will precede each contestant and a chase car will follow, creating a buffer from street traffic.
  5. Vehicle must have a wheel base and steering mechanism which allows safe handling on city streets.
  6. Only licensed drivers may operate a vehicle in the competition.
  7. Helmets must be worn during the competition and seat belts are highly recommended.
  8. In consideration of the safety of the driver, should the vehicle overturn during the race, recommended but not required are; long pants, long sleeved shirts, closed toe shoes, and safety glasses.
  9. All serious experimenters are welcome to enter the competition. Individual inventors are particularly encouraged but groups, organizations or school classes are also welcome.
  10. Vehicles must be experimental and nonproduction.
  11. The competition will be limited to the first 20 entrants that meet the qualifying rules.
  12. IMPORTANT A description of the propulsion system must be submitted for review by the competition Advisory Board.  Propulsion systems which do not meet the intent of the competition, which is to promote serious efforts towards the development of a viable alternate power source, will not be allowed to compete.
  13. Vehicle must be self propelled (no pedal power).
  14. Vehicle may not be powered by fossil fuels. Ethanol or other experimental fuels may be allowed pending the Advisory Boards review of the propulsion system (see rule 12) and safety concerns.
  15. The power source must be contained within the vehicle (the. Energy to complete the course must be stored aboard the vehicle during the course of the run).
  16. Vehicle must start from a dead stop under its’ own power (course may include gentle grades). The engine may be disengaged at stop.
  17. Vehicle must seat at least one person
  18. Vehicle must be able to transport the equivalent weight of an average man for the entire length of course. (National Center for Health Statistics, the average weight of a man is 189.8 pounds). Each driver will be weighed and weight will be added to the vehicle to compensate. No compensation will be made for heavier drivers.
  19. Vehicle may be charged, (fueled or energized) before 5 mile trial but may not be charged, (fueled or energized) during run.
  20. No mechanical work may be performed on vehicle during course of race.
  21. The race will be considered successfully completed if after meeting all of the above criteria the vehicle safely completes the predetermined course, under its own power, and crosses the finish line within the specified time limit ( 30 min. see rule 10).
  22. If two or more vehicles successfully complete the course, in each class, a 1/8 mile speed competition (first to the finish line) will be held to determine 1ST and 2ndplace (vehicles may be recharged for this event).
  23. Vehicle must have at least 3 supporting wheels unless approved in advance by the Advisory Board. Two wheeled vehicles must comply as follows;
    1. The driver must be able to operate and stop the vehicle with both hands on the steering mechanism (similar to a conventional motorcycle)
    2. The driver must be able to activate the emergency kill mechanism with both hands on the steering mechanism
    3. Any fluids carried on the vehicle (fuel, coolant, battery acid etc.) must be contained in such a manner as to not be released if the vehicle were to fall over.
    4. The vehicle must be light enough so that if it were to fall over on its side the operator would be able to put it back on its wheels.
    5. Appropriate clothing must be worn by the operator of a vehicle with less than 3 wheels, including a helmet motorcycle jacket, long pants and closed toe shoes
    6. A vehicle with less than 3 wheels cannot carry any high pressure vessels.
  24. Competition will be held rain or shine with possible cancellation for severe weather.
  25. All vehicles will compete in the following classes;
    1. Electric
      • First & second prize
    2. Air
      • First & second prize
    3. Improvements on existing technology
      • First & second prize
    4. Other
      • First & second prize
  26. A prize will be awarded for the most popular vehicle (a vote will be taken among the audience present).
  27. At the discretion of the Advisory Board a prize will be awarded for the most innovative individual and the most individual team entry.