The University of Auckland’s Formula SAE (FSAE) team serves the same purpose for our students as EVolocity does for school students. Team members get a chance to design, build and race a one-off electric vehicle, with the only real difference being the greater scale and more advanced technology in the FSAE car.
Both initiatives give students a chance to grow their engineering skills in a practical environment outside the classroom, as well as getting them familiar with managing long-term projects and working in a team of different skill sets. The experience of working in a team like this has been a great stepping stone for some of our students as they begin their careers. For example, Mechatronics graduate Michael Rasmussen cites his FSAE experience as an important step on his journey to becoming an engineer in a range of motorsport-related roles.
“FSAE became one of the highlights of my time [at university]. Not only did I make some great friends, but I made invaluable connections with the motorsport industry, and got first-hand experience with motorsport electronics that I could not have got anywhere else in New Zealand to the same quality. Not everybody can say they helped make four race cars whilst at university!”
Former FSAE Team Leader Lizzy Grant was drawn to the team when she toured their workshop as a school student looking for extracurricular and leadership opportunities. Her experience with the team made her a deserving recipient of the Bruce McLaren Automotive Award, which saw her intern at McLaren Automotive in the UK and see what it’s like to be an engineer at the highest level.
“It was really good for learning about the different types of engineering you can go into and just how the whole business operates,” she said. “They’ve got so much knowledge over just so many different areas of the car, from the aerodynamics through to the electrical side.”
Each year, students like Michael and Lizzy do exactly what all the students in EVolocity do; design and build an electric vehicle while developing skills that will set them up for a career in engineering.