KPU Students Advance to Phase Two of Car Design Competition

Marie-Pier Alary and Bailee van Rikxoort are working together to create a zero-emission vehicle

Marie-Pier Alary and Bailee van Rikxoort, product design students in the Wilson School of Design at KPU. (

KPU design students Marie-Pier Alary and Bailee van Rikxoort have reached the second phase of Project Arrow, a national competition to design a zero-emission concept vehicle hosted by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Section of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association.

According to their website, the zero-emission vehicle will be created with an all-Canadian team and will be designed, engineered and built by “world-class automotive supply sector and post-secondary institutions.”

Project Arrow has four phases: Design completion and selection, engineering specifications, release and supplier RFP, a virtual concept unveiling in 2021, and a final car release and tour in 2022.

Alary and van Rikxoort started working together during the first phase, when they came up with their concept. At first, Alary says she was unsure about her chance of success.

“We knew we were a little bit under qualified because we’ve never worked with cars, and [KPU] doesn’t actually do automotive design,” Alary says. “We just decided to do it because Victor, our teacher, is from the automotive industry.”

Phase one required contestants to create an idea and sketch and phase two will require a 3D model.

Alary and van Rikxoort signed up for the project before the pandemic began and had to unexpectedly adapt to allow for social distancing.

“We worked on this car entirely remote. I would share my screen, and we would both talk about dragging things in the right order,” she says. “We’ve actually been quite surprised with how much we’ve accomplished.”

The two students have learned a lot since they began working on the project.

“This has been almost a better and bigger learning experience than just taking a class because we’re challenging ourselves and we are very fortunate to be teamed up with the Autodesk community,” says Alary.

Autodesk makes the software that Alary and van Rikhoort use for their project.

Van Rikhoort says that working on the project has taught her that “you can keep designing as long as you want.”

“I don’t think you can ever stop [adding] iterations to your design,” van Rikhoort says. “What I’m learning throughout this competition is that you really just have to prioritize how you want the product to function and who for.”

KPU product design instructor Victor Martinez says his students have “grown and improved amazingly.”

“They have an amazing amount of energy, and if they manage to pass this second step, it’s going to be based on pure will and passion and desire of doing this in the best possible way,” he says.


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