Building experience for the next generation of engineers

18 January 2018
Dr Eva Hakansson pn the Killajoule at Bonneville Flats, Utah
Dr Hakansson on the Killajoule at the legendary Bonnevile Flats, Utah. Photograph by Kevin Smith.

The world's fastest female motorcycle racer has joined our faculty's roster of award-winning academic staff.

Dr Eva Hakansson has recently been appointed as a lecturer in our Department of Mechanical Engineering. Originally from Sweden, she completed her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Denver, Colorado, USA.

She is best known for her official world record, established at the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah: 400.2km/h at a top speed of 434km/h on her self-built electric streamliner motorcycle – also the world's fastest electric motorcycle – the 'KillaJoule'. The record reflects Dr Hakansson's interests in building and green technology, showcasing that "eco-friendly can be fast and fun".

She hopes to bring her passion for design and hands-on work to our students – “Being a mechanical engineer, I can shape metal and build things that have never existed before. That makes me feel like a superhero. In fact, engineers are superheroes; we will be instrumental in every aspect of a sustainable future, from transportation to food supply to health. But in order to gain the necessary skills, our students will need to experience the whole design process from conception to actually build something with their own hands. With a tradition of ingenuity, I think New Zealand is the perfect place to shape future engineering superheroes."

Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Krishnan Jayaraman states, "I am delighted to welcome Dr Eva Hakansson to department. She will be teaching a major part of the design course ENGGEN 115 – Principles of Engineering Design; with her background in CAD software, design and construction, she has a great set of skills for this course, and will do a great job to inspire our students. She will also be our Formula SAE team’s staff advisor, providing expert input on the design, construction and testing of electric cars."

Beyond teaching, Dr Hakansson will be busy working on her next project, due for a debut next year and with a goal for it to become the world's fastest motorcycle.