2017 School’s Handbook and Specifications Update

2017 School’s Handbook and Specifications Update

Since publishing the RACV Energy Breakthrough handbook which includes Vehicle Specifications, Trial Regulations and Rules, a number of schools have been quick to express concerns about changes to the seat belt mounting rules and the power restrictions placed on pedal/electrically EEVs.

The rule change signals our direction and intention for the future. They are designed to improve rider protection and regulate Pedal / Electric EEVs. As most people are aware, the 2016 event presented many challenges ‘on the track’ and we are keen to ensure that this is not repeated.

We are also working with our Medical and Emergency Services providers to ensure that we taking all the necessary steps to both reduce the risk of injury, through better rider protection and improve the response and care provided following incidents. Ambulance Victoria noted a significant number of back and neck related injuries during the 2016 event.

The essence of the “Technology Challenge” presented through the Energy Breakthrough is to “work together to design and construct a vehicle, a machine or innovation in technology” within the specifications. Our assessment processes are designed to assess:

  • the vehicle – its compliance with the specifications and whether it is safe in scrutineering and its endurance performance on the track
  • the students – their knowledge and understanding of the design and construction of the vehicle and how personal transport impacts on the world we live in.

During scrutineering, every effort is made to ensure that the vehicle complies with the specifications. The degree of compliance of the vehicle is part of the overall assessment. Vehicles that are considered safe, but not 100% compliant, are often allowed to compete. This is a judgment we, the organisers make. Safety is the overriding consideration.

As in previous year’s vehicles that do not comply with the rules will be closely inspected by RACV vehicle engineers and will only be allowed to compete if scrutineers consider the vehicle safe for competition and that they do not pose a danger to the rider or other participants.

Rule 4.6 Seat belts / 4.6.2 Mounting

This rule is to improve rider protection. There have been too many instances where seats and the fitting of seat belts have not been to a standard that we consider acceptable.

The direction of this rule change complies with the best practice employed in motor sport competition, that is, “the seat belt must be mounted to a major, non-moving, structural member of the vehicle”.

The reasons for this are:

  1. The seat belt mounting plate, mounting bolt and frame member are specified and are therefore known structural components.
  2. The strength of a seat is unknown and there is no engineering or load rating of the seat belt securing or attaching points, or the seat mounts.
  3. The weight of a rider, even in a low speed impact will place a significant load on all seat and belt mounting points

In addition, 4.6.2 Mounting should read as follows:

The seat belt must be mounted to a major, non-moving, structural member of the vehicle.

Seat belts are not permitted to be mounted to the seat under any circumstances.

Upper belts mounted behind the rider’s shoulders are required to be horizontal or no more than 40 degrees from horizontal and mounted no more than 200mm apart so as not to allow the belt webbing to fall from the shoulders when riding.

 5.6 Power limitations for Pedal Electric EEV’s or Hybrid One;

It was obvious during the 2016 event that some Pedal Electric EEVs were capable of notably high speeds. The difference in speeds between the ‘fastest’ and the ‘slowest’ vehicle is significant and is not sustainable.

It was clear that a combination of high voltage and a liberal restrictor or cut-out of 30-AMPS, enabled speeds that are risky to other competitors, surpass the safety level of the track and barriers and is contrary to the spirit and intent of the event as an energy challenge.

These rule changes have been informed by two key issues:

  1. There is a legal limit in Victoria requiring a license to ride any electric vehicle on the road that exceeds 250 Watts.

Based on this limit we have specified a circuit breaker for each of the commonly used voltages.

  1. 48 Volts is close to the industry standard that requires an electrical license to work on. Therefore 48 Volts has been removed as an option for teams. We acknowledge the lack of forewarning of this change and therefore for this year will liaise with teams to determine an appropriate circuit breaker that can be used to achieve our stated goal.



As in previous year’s we will work with teams over the next two years to introduce these changes in a way that does not increase costs and workloads significantly but works towards achieving our goals of “improved rider protection” and “reduced speed”. In adopting this approach to implementation we will not comprise safety, therefore as has been our practice in previous years, if we consider a vehicle proposes a safety risk to the team and, or other teams and participants we will not allow such a vehicle to compete.

Download your 2017 School’s Handbook

Visit the School Zone and download your relevant categories handbook >

2017 Entry Dates and Times

Testing is now open for the 2017 RACV Energy Breakthrough.

This is your chance to refresh your memory on the system, reset passwords and test as many entries as you like!

Find out the full details here >

By | 2017-03-11T18:28:22+00:00 March 10th, 2017|Generally Newsworthy, Team Manager Info|2 Comments

About the Author:

Lachy probably never knew what he was in for when he first volunteered to help out on the Holden Stage at the 2009 RACV Energy Breakthrough. Whilst he participated in the Innovations in Technology category back in 2005, he has been on the 'other side of the fence' ever since and now manages the event's website, wifi network and Holden Stage. Away from the Energy Breakthrough, Lachy is heavily involved in the local Maryborough community across events, community radio and theatre and he was nominated for the for the Saward Dawson Community Service and Volunteering award in 2013.


  1. Steven Brown - Director Niubike March 10, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    The idea of limiting motor power has some merit but a limit of 200 Watts renders most current systems redundant.
    For those with Niubike systems we can supply new controllers that can limit current to whatever is decided. Motors and batteries are not affected.

    For teams using the 8 Fun Mid Drive and other motors with built in controllers the solution is not so simple and it may require new motors and controllers.

    The Victorian eBike rules cover two main systems.
    1 200 Watt system allows a throttle or PAS and has no assist speed limit.
    2 250 Watt pedalec system allows 250 Watts up to a max assist speed of 25 KPH. To get 250 Watts of assistance onto the road, you need about 9 Amps current from the power supply (Battery), i.e. 9 Amps x 36 Volts = 324 Watts – 20% = 259 Watts to the road. The typical electric motor used for eBikes and eTrikes are about 80% efficient.
    Australia post use 7 Amp controllers for their 200 Watts eBike system. I assisted in setting up their system and it had to be approved by standards laboratory.
    7 Amps x 36 Volts = 252 Watts – 20% = 201.6 watts.
    All motor / power systems require a tolerance to work within and the new rules do not allow for this.

  2. Rob Spurling March 11, 2017 at 12:56 am

    Dear Lachlan,
    Good to see the retention of minimum shoulder belt mounting separation of 200mm. AIPP Specs ask that they not be below the horizontal.
    I think that the decision banning belts attached to adjustable seats is a retrograde step and not a good direction for the future. We need to apply sensible discrimination between the similarities of Pedal Prix/ HPV racing and motor sport and realistic separation of their differences. Uniquely amongst wheeled sports, Pedal Prix Teams comprise up to 20 riders of differing physiques. I know of at least one Team successfully managing a height range of 50cm. They use an adjustable seat with attached lap belt. Since it is the lap belt that is critical to keeping the rider in place in the vehicle during any incident, what is your preferred method for getting the lap belt across the pelvis of all riders in a Team?
    At the 2016 Murray Bridge 24 Hour Event, the St Johns Medical Team included responders, paramedics and a doctor and they dealt with 44 clinical patients. The two neck pain and two head injury presentations underwent conservative treatment, as you might expect, despite being non-serious. The Medical Team Leader reported to me that riders were well protected in their vehicles and coupled with the attention given to the track, the risk of injury to riders was being properly covered within the Vehicle Specs and Scrutineering program. There are two remaining areas commented on. 1) The crash impact forces likely to be endured by the rider in a stationery vehicle on the track being collided with cannot realistically be further ameliorated.
    2) A real danger requiring attention through training and changed processes, is the possibility of a Track Marshal having their feet knocked out from underneath them and hitting their head on the ground.
    Cheers, Rob Spurling [AIPP Chief Scrutineer]

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