Client in focus

Eco-Runner Team Delft aims to get most efficient hydrogen car on the road

Eco-Runner Team Delft broke the world record in 2023 by traveling 2488.5 kilometers in one of their cars, on a single tank of just 950 grams of hydrogen. The student team is now turning that winning mentality into an ambition that will benefit the whole of the Netherlands: designing an efficient hydrogen car that paves the way for further developments in this field. That's why V.O. has been sponsoring them since 2024. "We assist the team with our knowledge and legal advice." Says trainee patent attorney Levi Verhage.

Hydrogen cars are the future​​​​​​​

"We are really striking out in a different direction in 2024 and want to lay a foundation for the future," said Xiaodong Scherpbier, team manager of Eco-Runner Team Delft. "All the knowledge we gained in competitions since 2006 we put into building our 'street-legal' car. We didn't want to do another race this year that means little in everyday life. We also noticed that right now not everyone sees a future in the hydrogen car. If we build a good car and share our knowledge with the public, that may lead to more attention to the further development of this technology."

Keep secret or disclose?

The fact that Eco-Runner wants to make an impact with their ambition also means that they deal with their knowledge in a different way. Scherpbier: "We don't want to keep our knowledge secret like you do at a competition; rather, we want to share more during the process of building the car. Because that's how we further fuel the development of hydrogen cars. At the same time, we are already gathering knowledge on how to protect our intellectual property." And that's where Verhage can be of great help: "Eco-Runner stands for sharing knowledge. We will work with them to see in what form that can best be done, now and in the future."

Understanding intellectual property

V.O. supports Eco-Runner on numerous legal issues. "We give the team insight into everything related to intellectual property," says Verhage. "It's great fun to work with such a passionate team of students. For the team, we find out what technology is already protected. This gives them insight into the technology that's already out there, but also prevents them from accidentally making off with technology that someone else has patent rights to. After all, you don't want to accidentally infringe someone else's patent. We also look at contracts that they conclude with partners, for example. Then all the issues surrounding intellectual property are well regulated there as well." Eco-Runner is happy with that support. Scherpbier: "We do not have that knowledge ourselves, so it is nice when a sponsor stimulates us to make the right choices."

'We want to give the next team a push, by building intellectual property knowledge now together with V.O.'

Xiaodong Scherpbier –

teammanager, Eco-Runner Team Delft

Responsibility and commitment

The partnership is still early days. Yet Tim Deutman, manager of partnerships, already feels supported. "It is already a very open and committed cooperation so far," he says. Verhage is the point of contact for Eco-Runner Team Delft on behalf of V.O. As a trainee patent attorney, he has a technical background that meshes well with the issues the students face. In addition, Verhage can learn a lot himself. "It's nice that I get a lot of responsibility and can gain knowledge. I'll take that with me as I complete my three-year training as a patent attorney. Because of the freedom and responsibility this gives to me, I am extra motivated to support these students and continue to learn together with them." And with this project, surely it would be great to get the most efficient hydrogen car on the Dutch road, which is the breakthrough for this technology!"

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