Interview Kim Larsson
Kim studied the three-year program called Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Material Science at JTH and was a part of the electrical team in 2013. He was, therefore, part of the very first team that represented JU Solar Team and competed with the solar car Magic in BWSC.
What did you study at Jönköping University?
I studied Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Material Science between 2010 and 2013 at JTH.
What made you apply for JU Solar Team?
It was quite a coincidence that I started at the University. A close friend of mine had started in Jönköping and he had a room available in his apartment. I was actually going to start at one of the schools that offered formula student. I really wanted to do something unique and different during my education, something practical that challenged me. Already as a child, I started working on cars and motorcycles, something that complements an engineer very well.
During the second year of uni, a teacher came up with a crazy idea to drive a self-developed solar-powered car through the desert in Australia. Wow, I thought what a sick idea, I really want to be a part of it! Something a Swede had never done before, a bit like going to space.
What role did you have in the project and what did the role entail?
I chose to join the electric team, partly because they were only 3. I had gained some previous experience in electrical knowledge through conscription and my interest in competing within car sound. In addition, it was a very great opportunity to broaden my education with unique knowledge. My area of responsibility was all the high current components, motor, solar cells and systems in between to power it.
What have you taken with you from being a part of the project?
The biggest lesson is how long time all the research actually takes before you can start constructing something. Many of us thought that a driveable prototype would be developed fairly quickly, which was a big challenge. Also, teamwork in non-profit projects, how difficult and challenging it is, but at the same time, it is incredibly fun when we manage to create something together.
What would you tell someone that is thinking about applying to JU Solar Team?
What are you hesitating about? Unique knowledge that no one else possesses, if you are a competitive person you get the chance to compete against elite students around the world. An opportunity to see the other side of the world and make friends for life, within the team and with other people involved in projects.
What happened after you participated in JU Solar Team?
After the solar car project, I became a consultant at Husqvarna, where I benefited from my knowledge in modernizing and developing riding lawnmowers. I was responsible for developing a new unit for LED lighting for larger parts of their platforms in riding lawnmowers. After that, I worked as a technical project manager at Greenworks, where I was responsible for developing a new generation of batteries, chargers and certain battery products for professional use.
Today, I am a mechanics consultant manager at Etteplan in Jönköping with responsibility for over 10 employees, also a proud sponsor of the JU solar team. During my career, I have had a great collaboration with the solar car teams through the generations. I have support as a supervisor with internships and degree projects for those who participate in the solar car project. Within Etteplan, we have employed 4 people who have previously been involved in the solar car project, because we know what awesome individuals they have shaped.