Eco-car : a perfect vehicle for technical design teaching?

Lyndon Buck, Christian McLening, Jonathan Burgess

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Design methods and tools are generally best learned and developed experientially [1]. Finding appropriate vehicles for delivering these to students is becoming increasingly challenging, especially when considering only those that will enthuse, intrigue and inspire. This paper traces the development of different eco-car design and build projects which competed in the Shell Eco-Marathon. The cars provided opportunities for experiential learning through a formal learning cycle of CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate) or the more traditional understand, explore, create, validate, with both teams developing a functional finished prototype. Lessons learned were applied through the design of a third and fourth eco-car using experimental techniques with bio-composites, combining the knowledge of fibre reinforced composite materials and adhesives with the plywood construction techniques of the two teams. The paper discusses the importance of applying materials and techniques to a real world problem. It will also explore how eco-car and comparing traditional materials and construction techniques with high tech composite materials is an ideal teaching, learning and assessment vehicle for technical design techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
Subtitle of host publicationDesign Education and Human Technology Relations, E&PDE 2014
EditorsErik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, et al
PublisherThe Design Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-1-904670-56-8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2014
Event16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education - Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 4 Sept 20145 Sept 2014


Conference16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
Abbreviated titleE&PDE 2014


  • CDIO
  • collaborative working
  • curriculum alignment
  • experiential learning


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