Car design courses are available through many certificate, bachelor's, and master's degree programs in industrial, transportation, and vehicle design, as well as mechanical engineering. The curriculum spans introductory level topics like general design to more advanced, specialized areas depending on the career goals of the student, such as emission control and advanced mechanics.
Here are some common concepts taught in car design courses:
- History of the auto industry
- Engineering and computer-aided design
- Manufacturing practices
- Materials technology
- Modeling for design
Students generally have independent project requirements, and a large portion of class time is often spent doing hands-on work. Depending on the scope and type of degree, programs may take anywhere from two or three semesters to a full four years to complete.
3-D modeling is a prerequisite for many other courses in car design programs, as it is used so frequently in the field. 3-D modeling involves transferring 2-D images into three-dimensional models. Students will work with a variety of materials and learn the essentials of a three dimensional representation. Special topics include designing from different perspectives and clay and functional modeling. Though many entry-level car design courses do not have prerequisites, this course may require students to complete a 2-D design course or an equivalent.
Car Design History
To understand modern car design and the future of the field, it is important to understand the history of automotive design. These vehicle history courses teach students the origins of car design and how it has evolved over the last century. Special topics include designing for different purposes and populations, changing cultural aesthetics, and modern design trends. Generally, car design history classes require acceptance into an automotive design program as a prerequisite. Other prerequisites vary from program to program.
Nearly all advanced car design courses involve some level of computer-assisted design. This course takes students through the essentials of using digital design programs for car design. Students will become proficient in different car design software programs, including Rhino, Alias Sketchbook Pro, and LightWave 3D. These courses takes students through a number of different projects, including designing specialty, production, and concept cars. Car design courses in computer-aided styling generally require the completion of all basic design courses and a car design history course.
Race Car Design
Car design courses, such as this one focused on race cars, give students the opportunity to create their own cars from scratch. The requirements vary depending on the program, the year, and the race, but students are required to compete with a functional vehicles at the end of the course. All race design courses require that students work to create and assemble a car together, and some have special stipulations such as the vehicle must operate on solar power. Students must be able to design and assemble parts such as the power train and the fuel injection system, and must complete by painting the vehicle. Typically, this course is for engineering students and is taken in the last semesters of a degree program.
Vehicle branding courses address specific ways to distinguish your car's design in order to market and brand them as your own. Students learn how different manufacturers brand their vehicles and how the characteristics of those brands make them remarkable and memorable. By integrating branding techniques into their car designs, students are a step ahead when it comes to marketing their vehicles to potential customers.