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Formula CCM


An Experimental Electric Vehicle Competition for Student-Engineers


From The County College of Morris SAE Student Chapter

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NOTE: This page is still in DRAFT status. We will be adding more content including vehicle build plans, layout dimensions for test course and other information as we develop the concept.


Formula-CCM Electric Vehicle Challenge A new, simple, low-cost electric vehicle challenge for middle-school or high-school students, Boy Scouts, home-schoolers and other similar groups.

A competitive Formula-CCM vehicle can be built for under $150 (if you are creative) and does not require welding or complex machine tool or fabrication equipment.We have built several "bolt together" vehicles.

Formula CCM is intended to build student interest in "green technology" and alternate transporation concepts as well as providing a format for technical learning.

Facts (FAQs) for Formula-CCM

Formula-CCM Test Day- Approx. 100 photos.

OUTDOOR TEST VIDEO OF FORMULA-CCM. Various students driving.

A short YouTube video of our simple, bolt-together design doing short indoor tests.

Top speeds of a Formula-CCM Challenge Electric Vehicle on the official Formula-CCM "circuit" (which is short and has tight turns) are not expected to exceed 11 to 15 mph. A drawing and layout dimensions for the official Formula-CCM circuit can be seen below. The circuit will require 7 traffic cones to layout. At the moment, we are recording fastest rolling start lap and vehicle endurance (in minutes) around circuit one on one full battery charge. Our current record for fastest "flying lap" is 10.4 seconds. We will likely add more to the challenges as time goes on.

In test trials, we have run a Formula-CCM Challenge Electric Vehicle for well over 20 minutes of continuous operation with a driver that weighed well over 200 lbs.

A rendering of the basic Formula-CCM concept.

For many urban and suburban areas electric cars may help reduce emissions and dependency of petroleum (especially when coupled with electricity generated from solar, wind, hydro and/or nuclear sources). It is expected that young people who are involved in building a Formula CCM will become more interested and excited about electric vehicles and other alternate transporation concepts.

The Formula-CCM Challenge is specifically designed to keep things simple and inexpensive without hampering creativity.

The green-colored Formula-CCM shown in pictures below was built entirely with basic tools (electric hand-drill, hacksaw, jig saw, plus files, wrenches and other basic hand tools). No welding was required to build it. We refer to this vehicle as The Test Mule, since we have altered and changed it as we have developed the ideas around Formula-CCM. In its first test runs, it used a very simple "side-steer" setup. Later. we modified The Mule to have center steering via a bicycle-type handlebar.

Many different types of designs and styles are possible. You may design and build a vehicle that is of welded construction, or built from PVC pipe, wood, or a combination of other materials (as long as the vehicle complies with our simple “formula” of rules).

We can e-mail you basic AutoCAD plans for the vehicle shown below, if you wish (contact N. McCabe).

Basic Rules:

1.The vehicle must be no longer than 42” and no wider than 32”. These measurements are taken at "axle-center" (approximately 5" off the ground). The upper part of the seat may extend beyond the 42" overall length if needed. A minimum weight of 40 lbs will be in place to discourage exotic materials. There is no limit on height.

2.Must use any four-cylinder automotive starter motor (we've had very good luck with starters from mid-1990s Toyota Corollas). Cost approximately $35 (junkyard) or approximately $125 new. This particular type of starter must have a one-way "freewheel" clutch built in: this is critical for proper control of the vehicle. The standard automotive drive gear is removed and replaced with a #35 sprocket (with 9 teeth).

3.Must use a 12 volt automotive battery (max CCA is 630). Cost approximately $50.

4.Must use four, low-speed wheels, size 4.10/3.50-4(available from Harbor Freight, Northern Tool, Tractor Supply, etc). Cost approximately $9 each. Overall, outer diameter of these tires is approximately 10". Since these tires wear very quickly, it will be permissible to replace rear tires with true, ribbed go-kart tires of similar size. Front tires must remain standard, low-speed type.

5.Must be one-wheel, chain drive (ratio of about 6:1 is suggested).

6.Must have at least one wheel brake. "Scrub" brakes (against the tire) are acceptable.

7.No digital speed controls allowed. Must use only on-off function for speed control (via solenoid)

Contest----The competition involves laying out a small “course” with 7 traffic cones at your school and measuring various performance tests (more details on these tests will be announced soon). The course is a small-footprint layout so that you will not need a lot of space.

A simple pencil sketch of the proposed circuit with dimensions can be seen below. Red squares represent traffic cones. The blue line represents the actual vehicle path. Dimensions are in feet. The sketch is followed by a rendering of the layout.

The spreadsheet below is a *sample* of the type of data we could collect during testing (this is not real data). In order to be fair to different entrants, we could collect data in three weight classes including, "under 200 lbs total" (driver and vehicle), "201 lbs to 250 lbs" (driver and vehicle) and "over 250 lbs (driver and vehicle).



For more info, goto: and click on “Formula CCM” or contact Prof. N. McCabe at County College of Morris (

Formula CCM is a creation of the County College of Morris (CCM) Student Chapter of The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). Student members of the CCM SAE chapter have been developing the concept of Formula CCM since 2007. They have built a total of six Formula-CCM electric vehicles (plus several beta-prototypes with "micro" gas engines displacing under 25 cc).

CCM is located in Randolph, New Jersey, USA

Below: a Formula CCM built without welding and using only hand tools. All frames pieces are drilled and bolted together. Seat is narrowed plastic chair. Front axles are 1/2" mild steel that has been cold-bent in a vise (using a 4 foot piece of pipe as a "cheater bar" for leverage). Steering is via right side lever. Left side lever is pushed forward for brake. Button on top of brake lever energizes solonoid for "on/off" speed control.

First version of Test Mule without powertrain or seat (below).

Two different Formula-CCM electric vehicles (below). Both comply with the rules we created to define a Formula-CCM vehicle. The blue vehicle was (mostly) welded together and the green vehicle is 100% bolt-together construction.

Testing battery life (approx 10 minutes of running time on this test, but we feel batteries may not have been fully charged).

Test Mule (below) after being modified to include "center steering" and repositioned battery box.

A "bare" chassis (below).

A short YouTube video of one of our electric Formula-CCMs built in 2008, during indoor trials last year.

Build Your Own Steam Engine!


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