San Jose State University students are showing some of the custom vehicles they have built from scratch at the Silicon Valley Auto Show at San Jose McEnery Convention Center through March 10. The student-built models include a Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Formula Combustion vehicle, an SAE Formula Electric Vehicle, an SAE Mini Baja, an autonomous vehicle and a formula electric vehicle.
Working closely with Mechanical Engineering Professor Fred Barez for the past 10 years, the Spartan Racing team designs, builds and tests a new Formula-style race car every year. They follow the same regulations and standards that are imposed on motor sport teams. The experience allows students to experience a competitive work environment while applying the theories they are learning in their courses. Dozens of students are involved each year, with seven student leads focused on everything from the business needs of the team to the chassis and suspension of the vehicle.
In 2015, the team took first place at the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers Collegiate Design Series competition in Lincoln, Nebraska, and have continued to compete in the U.S. and Canada as well as the international circuit.
Barez looks forward to the opportunity for his students to show off their work at the Auto Show while also inspiring a new generation of engineers.
“As a kid, you’re excited to receive cars, trains, and planes. We want to develop pathways for kids,” Barez said at the 2018 show. “They all get excited to see the cars. Where else would you see an 8-year-old kid with an opportunity to drive a car?”