We recently visited with Transportation Design major Omar Gonzalez to find out about his internship at BYD, the world’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles. Bloomberg Businessweek describes BYD as “the No. 1 producer of plug-in vehicles globally, attracting a tiny fraction of the attention of Elon Musk’s company while powering, to a significant extent, a transition to electrified mobility that’s moving faster in China than in any other country.” Last year BYD sold more than 113,000 plug-in electric vehicles worldwide and currently has nearly 40,000 electric buses in service around the world.
ArtCenter News: What do you admire about BYD as a company?
Omar Gonzalez: Personally what I really admire from the automotive industry is innovation—allowing for a broad perspective of what the future could possibly be. Today the car industry is experiencing a huge and revolutionary change transitioning from gasoline to fully electric vehicles. As the world’s largest electric vehicle company, BYD motors is really helping to make this transition a reality.
What I really like about the company is that started in 1995 in China as an energy company focusing on batteries and expanded from there—in 2003, it entered the automotive industry and subsequently entered the LED and energy storage business and added PV solar panel production in 2008, and the rail transit industry in 2010-2011. I believe energy is one of the most important problems facing society and I totally respect companies that are into the future of energy efficiency.
AN: Can you tell your fellow students why they should consider taking the time to do an internship?
OG: I believe an internship is a very important experience that each student should strive for because working in the design studios allows you learn about the industry and experience the expectations of the working in a studio from the designers.
Furthermore, it helps you decide if that is what you want to do for the rest of your life. I believe it is a very important question that everyone has to ask themselves because in this small industry if you don’t love what you do, it is very hard to get real success and fulfillment. In other words, students should be very committed to becoming great designers by working on their skills as much as necessary to be the best.
“BYD is an attractive company for many of our students who are passionate about designing for the future and are looking for opportunities to develop clean energy and sustainable design solutions,” notes Amanda Webb, director of ArtCenter’s Career and Professional Development Department, “a number of students have had rewarding internships with BYD and we have alumni working at BYD locations worldwide.”
For more information about internships and how to get one, stop in at the Career and Professional Development (CPD) office or visit artcentercpd.com/internships.