Vehicle Research Institute

Western Washington University’s Vehicle Research Institute (VRI) strives to offer the best total car design curriculum in the world.

The program focuses on complete vehicle design and fabrication with special emphasis on: power plants, including alternative fuels; transmissions; chassis design; and component materials.

All courses are laboratory-oriented.

One bachelor of science degree is offered: Industrial Technology – Vehicle Design Specialization.

We also offer a post-baccalaureate program offering a certificate in vehicle design.


Professor Eric Leonhardt, Director
Vehicle Research Institute
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA 98225-9086
(360) 650-3045

WWU VRI at X PRIZE finals

When WWU asked me to start this program back in '79 I never dreamed we'd accomplish what we have. I just set about doing what I always do: making cars that are lighter, faster, and more efficient in every way. Together we've harnessed the power of the sun and the common dairy cow. Who knows what's next!

—Dr. Michael Seal
Founder of the VRI

Page Updated 11.27.2017