A student's life...

by Texas van Leeuwenstein

As part of the first group of Automotive Bachelor students that started in 2011, I was asked to write a column about my experiences. My name is Texas van Leeuwenstein and I am 22 years old. The three years of my Bachelor have come to an end, and this may be a good time to take a moment to reflect.

As the first group of Automotive Bachelor students at the TU/e, things weren’t always the easiest.Starting a new Bachelor major is tough and the usual teething  problems occurred. The new group of Automotive students didn’t mix with the other group of Electrical Engineering students within the department. A lot of feedback was provided, and everyone was eager to solve these problems for future generations. Although a lot of Automotive students have become sidetracked or have even dropped out, some will make their way to their Master studies after this summer break.

For me as a student, Smart Mobility is embodied at the university by the Automotive student teams where  a lot has happened during the past three years. Existing teams like URE kept on growing and expanding their knowledge and expertise. Some new teams like STE and TU/ecomotive started their adventure last year. Of course, everyone has heard about the great success of Stella, which shows the impact of great technology and the importance of project communication.

Tim Gerth,  also a third year Automotive student, and I were involved in founding the TU/ecomotive team. This initiative was started by eight Automotive Bachelor students and  we participated in the Shell Eco-marathon with “Penny”, a small two-person city car. Although Penny wasn’t the prettiest car, it was able to drive 534 kilometers on just one liter of fuel. This year’s team built a new car with the same concept and vision. They will make it possible to drive their roadworthy certified vehicle “Isa” on public roads.

This year, Wilco Pesselse, also a third year Automotive student, and I founded another new automotive team: STORM Eindhoven. The new team will participate in the 80 Day Race with an electric vehicle. We will travel nearly 40,000 kilometers by land in approximately 80 days. The team focuses not only on the technical construction of a vehicle that can accomplish this journey but also on the strategy and logistical challenges of such a grand journey.

Since all teams are run by a variety of students themselves, they display both a great deal of entrepreneurship and the multidisciplinary character needed and brought by all students and staff involved. In all teams the importance of working together with partners outside but certainly within the university as well is evident.  Since these teams demonstrate that any great idea can be realized, they create the best billboard for the whole university and show the world that the TU/e is the place where innovation starts.