Formula-e project is designed to teach lessons in strategy, product development, science, engineering, design fabrication, branding and event planning. Students also learn about competition, working in teams, setting goals, and implementing plans that meet them. The vehicles are created with the latest computer design and rapid prototyping tools with advanced materials and mechanisms that rapidly accelerate them to speeds over 25mph.In addition to the design and fabrication of the vehicle, student teams will develop their team brand and design graphic collateral to promote their teams. Teams will also develop collaborative partnerships with local non-profit organizations.

The Formula E (elastic) challenge aka. M3 Racer Project, aka “The Rubber  Racer” has been held annually during the month of August since 2006 in Art Center College of Design’s Graduate Industrial Design Department. 
The 14 Week long design project culminates with student teams competing in a variety of events with their uniquely designed remote controlled race vehicles propelled by energy stored in 16 feet of rubber band.The event takes place on the smooth paved sidewalks of the Art Center sculpture garden and includes a road course, a drag race, and a hill climb, In addition there are awards for  a beauty contest, and for the team that wins the most other events: a best in show award. 
For 2011 the teams were additionally challenged to find a charitable local organization and to use their creativity to generate donations for the charity through their race activity.
Formula e  vehicles are designed and developed utilizing scratch-build fabrication techniques as well as with computers and rapid prototyping tools, advanced materials and mechanisms that regularly produce sophisticated design solutions that rapidly accelerate to speeds over 25mph.
In the process students learn about competition, working in teams, setting goals, making plans and then implementing them with various measures of success despite surprises and adversity.
The rules and specifications for formula E racing evolve slowly. Each generation of Formula E vehicles has evolved in regard to design sophistication by innovative thinking that furthers advancements made by teams in prior years. 

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GradID Students

“Of all the advanced pedagogical methods that ACCD’s Grad ID has to offer – Formula E is at the pinnacle. Never has such a deceptively simple challenge left so many accomplished designers naked on race day. When it’s your team’s turn, either that artifact has solved for the demands of the proposed complex problem or it hasn’t…let alone ‘Does the thing compete?’ In total: 14 weeks plus 16 feet of rubber band equals a masterful simulation of industry.”  – Philip Keller (GradID 12)

“As designers we often fixate on what should be- it’s our super power- the things that enable us to see opportunities where others see only problems. But we must also never lose sight of validating our ideas–Formula E is where the rubber (band) hits the road. It keeps us honest by forcing us to make decisions, put a stake in the ground, commit to our theories and test them so they can be challenged, debunked, abandoned or improved. It’s R&D at its finest- impossible, exhausting and full of ah-ha moments- if you’re lucky you’ll win a few bucks and escape with most of your fingers intact- if not, you’ll still be glad you did it.” – Zach Schlossberg (GradID 16)

PCC/ACAN Students

‘It was one of the greatest learning experiences and transitions into the ArtCenter lifestyle anyone can ask for. Being thrown into the fire is sometimes the best way to learn”. -Gary Cheung

“Formula E was the beginning of my Artcenter education, the program broadened my sight in the industrial design realm and inspired me to become a designer that make things work.”-Sonia Lui

“Some experiences are so meaningful that they transcend beyond the project, for me formula-e created a friendship between the GradID students and I that I still cherish years after the race has been over”.  – Daniel Smitisan

“Formula-e gave me initiative—it’s what really jumpstarted my career as a designer and professional worker.” – Justin Kim

“Formula e was an incredible opportunity for me to learn from a community of world-class designers and to build lifelong relationships.”  – Justin Babikian


Formula E China was created by the Beijing University of Technology and ArtCenter College of Design in 2013. Teams compete in China with the winners coming to race at Art Center College of Design. In 2016, Shantou University successfully held the 4th Formula E China event. In 2017, Beijing University of Technology will hold Formula E China event in Beijing. In the past 5 years, over 30 universities and over 100 teams have been participant in Formula E event.

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