Design Competition: Scenario no. 1

Energy-efficient vehicles

The scenario

  • The price of petrol has risen hugely, making conventional forms of travel such as car, bus and plane extremely expensive. This is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future.
  • To adapt to this situation we need to create vehicles that make more efficient use of fuel or use a different form of energy.

The challenge

Design a vehicle that can travel with as little fuel as possible or is powered by a different source of energy.

Questions to consider

  • What materials will you use to build the vehicle? Remember that they should combine strength and light weight;
  • What design elements will help make your vehicle more efficient? How can you make your vehicle more aerodynamic to reduce the quantity of fuel that it uses, or how can you reduce the rolling resistance?
  • How can the engine efficiency be improved?
  • What alternatives to petrol could you use as fuel (hydrogen, solar power or combinations etc.)?
  • How will you calculate the fuel consumption of your vehicle?

Supporting resources

Car design: Saving energy, helping the climate (19 languages)
Most cars need fossil fuels to provide the energy they need to power themselves, and this emits carbon dioxide (CO2) an important greenhouse gas responsible for climate change.

Automotive, how future car designs will help protect the environment (English)
This text is the transcript of a chat that focused on the above-mentioned topic.

Advanced Technologies & Energy Efficiency (English)
This website publishes a diagram that shows typical energy uses and losses in a vehicle.

Mobility – how to make travelling easier on the environment (English)
Mobility is an important feature that shapes our lives, be it in an industrial context or in our leisure time.

Factsheet: Automotive applications of plastics (English)
In 2000, plastic parts accounted for 10% of the average weight of cars in the European car fleet. In the ranking of materials used in the car, plastics is second only to steel.