As an academic effort, the project provides a unique opportunity for Stanford students to gain valuable hands-on engineering and business experience in raising community awareness of the power of solar energy and the increasing need for lighter, more aerodynamic, and more efficient vehicles. The team operates on a two-year project cycle that becomes more than another extracurricular activity. Students on the team balance their involvement with work and academics, but always remain dedicated to the collective effort of building from the conceptual to the racing phase one of the world’s most efficient vehicles.
Members usually join SSCP as undergraduates with little to no engineering background and gradually build their knowledge while working on a vehicle. Coordinating a project of this magnitude also requires considerable management and planning, allowing students to develop these vital business skills in an engineering environment. With this approach, the team has fostered nine generations of award-winning vehicles, proving that a hands-on education in creative design and execution produces impressive results.
Members who graduate from SSCP go on to work with some of the most cutting-edge technologies and firms today, such as Tesla Motors, Nanosolar Inc, and other companies they had encountered through the SSCP as undergrads. Even in fields as diverse as cancer therapeutics research and software marketing former team members are at work, leveraging many skills they first developed working with SSCP.