The Perodua Eco Challenge (PEC) is back for 2012, and things are about to get more interesting. This is the fourth edition of the annual event that’s part of Perodua’s CSR efforts, and it will be once again held at the Melaka International Motorsport Circuit (next to the Ayer Keroh Melaka toll) on July 15.

All 13 institutions of higher learning that participated in PEC 2011 will be back this year. Last year’s winners Politeknik Ungku Omar (longest distance), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (engineering category) and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (design and participation category) will be defending their position against Universiti Sains Malaysia (two time winners), Universiti Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia Spanish Institute, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN), Universiti Industri Selangor (UNISEL) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

Also taking part are Politeknik Port Dickson, Politeknik Sultan Azlan Shah and Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka. The latter competed last year as a guest team, but is now a full fledged entry.

The big news this year is that there will be no car or engine given – the teams will have to modify and improve on their 2011 machine using RM10,000 given by Perodua at a ceremony today.

Another big new challenge is that the machines will be tested dynamically as well, as opposed to the sole criteria of longest distance from previous years. This will be done via a new category called Time Attack. Here, cars will be tested on acceleration, cornering, braking and a slalom test. The scope is now much bigger, with the addition of performance into the mix.

There’s more! Perodua has opened a new category for Business, Commerce or Management faculties of the participating IPTs, where “Marketing Teams” have to submit their marketing, promotion and business plans for their team vehicle. RM5,000 was given to each team. The judging panel for this category will be industry professionals.

With the newly introduced categories, there will now be an Overall Champion. The total prize money for this year’s PEC has been increased to RM103,000 from RM77,000 to cater to the new categories. The overall champ will leave Melaka with RM25,000, while longest distance and engineering category winners take home RM10,000 each. The new Time Attack category offers RM7,000 for the most dynamic car.

Click here and here for our 2010 and 2011 Perodua Eco Challenge reports. Go to last year’s report to see the 2011 cars that this year’s teams have to work with.