Cornell Electric Vehicles: the first electric vehicles project team at Cornell!

Established in 2014, Cornell Electric Vehicles (CEV) is the first electric vehicles project team at Cornell. We pave the way for student teams to design fully electric vehicles. Moreover, we are the only vehicle team with an energy-efficiency focus. Our team allows students to focus on skills relevant to their studies in the context of sustainable designs. We are also able to gain hands-on experience. We increase our learning with materials beyond the classroom teachings. Our team is also futuristic as it focuses on the construction of electric vehicles. As we have seen in recent years, there seems to be a positive trend towards the adoption of these types of vehicles. Our team is also extremely interdisciplinary, as we have subteams that touch on many different innovative topics including autonomy, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles.

Members of the Electric Vehicle Team

We subvert the male-dominated automotive industry with more than half of the leadership on our team as women. Already in the engineering field less than 35% involved are females. At Cornell the number is around 52% and our project team is able to carry that equal distribution as well with there being an equal ratio of males and females. I am a member of the operations team and I enjoy coming to our meetings and work sessions because I am able to feel represented. Everyone on our team is extremely welcoming as well. Everyone on our team is able to get along and are all invested in the success of our projects. Even if you have never talked to someone before and you just ask them for advice on a project they are willing to help you.

The team dynamics is one of CEV’s greatest strengths. We have had a couple of socials and I was able to interact with so many cool individuals that I was never able to do before because our projects did not align. Being on the operations team it is a bit harder to interact with others because of the nature of our projects. At the socials we organize, I was able to talk to so many different people from all our mechanical, electrical, and software subteam. Our project team is able to also have a bit of fun on the side! We have two sports teams, volleyball and soccer. We usually play against other project teams and it is such a fun experience. Besides working together in the ELL, we are able to work together on the field. No experience is required to be a part of those teams so I enjoy a lot the type of team bonding that is able to happen.

Team members posing after playing volleyball.

Some major milestones include our creation in 2014, in 2018 we went to the Shell Eco-marathon competition and won 5th place, in 2019 we went again to the competition and won 3rd place. We also won the Shell Eco-marathon safety off-track award in 2021 and were runner up for the data & telemetry award also in 2021. Finally in 2021, we decided to switch to a different class in the competition, the urban concept.

Members of the electric vehicle team working in their project team space.

Ultimately, being a part of CEV was the best decision I have made since coming to Cornell. It has allowed me to learn so many skills and topics that I would have otherwise never had the chance to. I was also able to meet so many interesting people and hear about their experiences. I know that even when I graduate I will also be a part of CEV.

~Sofia, operations research and engineering