When Stephen Bykowy was challenged to design an all-Canadian, zero-emissions vehicle to showcase the auto industry, he reflected on Canadian identity and values.
“I tend to think about things like fairness, equality, collaboration and family. We’re proud of our landscapes and the beauty of our country.”
“Canada’s car” must be suitable for the country’s highways and varied environments and his creation, The Archer ticks each box. The design was Bykowy’s submission to The Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association’s Project Arrow competition.
The fourth year Industrial Design student was named a finalist in the competition by a panel of expert judges including industry leaders in automotive design, engineering, propulsion and creativity. Bykowy’s submission was the only design produced by a single student rather than a team.
“For me, I was thinking about how we can make the experience of driving the car more meaningful and encourage interaction between passengers to create more meaningful trips,” said Bykowy.
“I can spin the seats around, so everyone is looking at each other. There’s no giant combustion engine which opens up the interior space, allowing it to be roomier and more comfortable. I was thinking about a living room on wheels,” he said.
‘New stories, new layouts, new ways of thinking’
Bykowy’s design came out of an assignment from Industrial Design professor Bruce Thomson.
“Whenever possible, if I can take a competition and merge it into the class, I will do that because it’s good for the students to get the recognition – and to work with people outside the college. Sponsored projects like this one have them dealing with me as a professor but also with companies,” Thomson said.
Whether the industrial design students commit to a career in the automotive world or not, he believes that it is beneficial for them to participate to broaden their experience and diversify their portfolios.
Through assignments like this one, Bykowy and his peers can use the skills taught in the classroom in real life. It is also an opportunity to be creative. Thomson notes that Bykowy’s holistic approach to design is part of what makes The Archer so exceptional.
“He was thinking about how people could socialize inside and outside the car. Years ago, the interior was an afterthought, but more and more today, people are gravitating towards the interior, creating opportunity for new stories, new layouts and new ways of thinking.”
While the expert judges found that Bykowy’s design would be more expensive to produce than the others, they praised his creativity.