Humber College boasts the only Automotive Design program in the country and it has a strong focus on using sustainable technology.
Environmental responsibility is a priority for the program, teaching students the importance of creating sustainable vehicles for future consumers.
The longevity of a vehicle and number of materials it takes to create a product are two important factors to consider in the design stages, said program coordinator Patrick Burke.
“It addresses how designers can up front assess how their products can make an environmental impact,” he said. “The material, manufacturing, transportation, use of the product, and disposal five stages, called life cycle analysis. It was introduced to the program about four years ago.”
Industrial Design student Jackson Wyatt, 25, took advantage of the teachings about sustainable product use and used his industrial design experience at Humber to create a product featured on CBC television’s Dragon’s Den.
“Automotive design is always looking at ways to reduce waste,” he said. “The current third year project is to fit four cars in the footprint in a Ford F-150 pick-up.”
Wyatt said that the industrial design program is always looking towards the future and sustainable design is the future.
Automotive design also focuses on sustainability in its design, especially when determining which materials will be used in car manufacturing.
“Cars are massive and weigh a lot,” said Burke. “They have a lot of source material. They recycle the tires, the batteries, the copper and iron in the car.”
Designing with sustainable practices in mind is cost-effective for producers and an attractive feature for contemporary consumers.
“When hybrid cars first came out, they were cute and targeting an urban audience,” said third-year Automotive Design student Jack Morris, 20. “Chevy is now making them and now they are getting more rugged.”
Morris listed several new sustainable technologies gaining popularity in the auto industry including the new eco-boost (a direct fuel injection system to generate more power) for trucks, hybrid engines, and Harley-Davidson is even making an electric bike model.
“Design is convincing, it can be rugged and powerful with an electric engine. It is a sign of revolution,” he said.
Fourth year automotive design student, Zaib Mahmood, 25, is crafting his final year thesis project with sustainability in mind.
“I’m designing a two wheeled vehicle balanced by a Segway. It is designed for South Asia. The purpose is to be more ecological because it’s battery powered, and gas cost is very expensive in South Asia,” Mahmood said.
“One thing about sustainability is that it offers a more holistic approach to design. You see how design responds to global awareness. It isn’t the cure-all but you can minimize the implications on the environment,” Burke said.