What is a Human Powered Vehicle?

human powered vehicle

A human powered vehicle, or HPV is, as the name implies, a vehicle propelled solely by human power. The vehicle that we build each year is a recumbent bicycle, meaning that the bike is shorter, and the rider is closer to the ground, in a reclined position. This allows the bike to have a smaller frontal area, making the bike more aerodynamic. The HPVs we build are also fully faired, which means that the rider is enclosed in a shell to reduce drag from the air.

Record setting vehicle

Record Setting Human Powered Vehicle

HPVs can be a bit more difficult to ride than a conventional bicycle, but with a powerful "engine," they can reach blazing speeds. The world record for the fastest 200 meter sprint is 82 mph at high altitude. (In order to qualify for the record, the gradient of the course was less than two thirds of one percent, and the wind speed had to be less than 3.7mph.)

Sam Whittingham flying by at a record-breaking 82 mph in Battle Mountain, Nevada in his HPV.