Industrial Design

15e: FSAE Racecar



15e is Carnegie Mellon Racing's second electric race car.

Every year, Carnegie Mellon Racing builds a new vehicle to compete in Formula SAE, an intercollegiate competition in which teams design and build small race cars to be tested and judged in various events.

As the team's Lead Exterior Designer, I was responsible for designing the shape of the body and overseeing the fabrication process. The body consists of three carbon fiber pieces, fixed to the chassis. Pittsburgh Plate Glass supported the team by painting the body and adding the distinctive shark mouth.

15e competed in the 2015 Formula Electric and Formula Hybrid competitions. It is the product of a dedicated team of students and support from sponsors.

15e won first place in the design finals at the 2015 Formula Hybrid Competition, placing second overall, and winning the IEEE Excellence in Electric Vehicle Engineering Award.


Design Process

The design process began with hand sketches, based on templates of the chassis design. Working within the tight constraints of the FSAE regulations and the objectives set forth by the team's engineers, I determined that the best configuration of the body panels would be a single nose cone with two side panels.

Through many iterations I settled on a final design that successfully meets our goals and the constraints of the competition while still making a strong and cohesive visual statement. Once the design was finalized, I created a Solidworks CAD model of the panels to ensure a perfect fit with the chassis, and to serve as the template to cut the molds.



The fabrication process began with the use of the CAD model to cut full-sized foam molds with a CNC router. The molds were cut in layers, then glued together and hand sanded before being painted and finished with gel coat and mold release wax. By laying fiberglass over the foam molds, we created the final female molds.

The body panels themselves were created by laying carbon fiber into the fiberglass molds, which were then vacuum bagged and cured in an oven. After releasing the panels from the fiberglass molds, we sent the body to PPG to be finished and painted, which is where the body gained its distinctive hand-painted shark mouth. The final step was to apply the sponsor stickers and trim the panels for mounting.