Introduction: Sustainable Scooter Race - Workshop

Why ?

An e-scooter design competition is a competition with the purpose to rise awareness to STEM students about the often overlooked topic of sustainability. Why do we need this? Because, we teach our students how to design fast cars, or reliable cars or efficient cars, but we do not teach them enough (I feel) that the best car that is not sustainable has no future. Of course there are many oil-sponsored sustainable races around the world such as The Shell solar challenge, but the materials and competition cost are so high that only a few handful of elite student teams have the chance to experience it. Another criticism of these high profile and low-accessibility events is the lack of focus on sustainability. Yes, the cars are solar but no accountability is demanded on the actual sustainability of the cars that participate in the race. A similar problem exist with Formula -E, the electric car races. This is a low cost event in the spirit of the maker faire movement, open sourced and to learn important concepts such as product life cycle and total co2 emission costs.

How In teams of four to ten, the students are given each 600 in virtual money. With this money they can buy parts from the event shop. The winning team is the team that designs and assembles the most sustainable scooter and the scooter that completes a test run of 1 mile to proof that the design works. To calculate how sustainable the design choices embodied in a scooter are a gdocs spread sheet is provided. In the sheet one can select different kinds of motors, tires, bodies and see the impact on Co2 emissions. There are three main constraints to have into account. Life expectancy of the scooter, limited by the shortest life component. Co2 emission at manufacturing, and co2 emission during operation. While trying to find the best combination of components the students learn about important concepts and most importantly how the different components characteristics affect the life cycle of a product.


10:00 brief and team formation

10:30 mentors explain how to use the excel file to calculate the life time co2 emissions of a scooter

11:00 teams start designing the scooter, modeling life time co2 emission with the excel file. The excel contains data sheet and the possibility to model two scooter design alternatives at the same time.

12:00 Freeze designs. Buy parts from shop. Start assembly.

13:00 Assembly complete. Start 1km test race.

14:00 winners announced.


his race is designed to cost less than € 600.00 per team. Most of this cost is to buy the electric parts. That are interchangeable. For each participating team the following should be avialable.

  1. For each team
    1. 600 Virtual money
    2. Brainstorming cards
    3. Spreadsheet to calculate co2 impact
    4. e-scooter retrofit kits (I,II,III) / per team. see refs.
    5. helmet for pilot
    6. Certificate of participation/ winner award
  2. Common to the competition
    1. 1km long racetrack
    2. race flag
    3. winners cup
    4. finishing line
  3. Links