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JOHN@WENGMOTORS.COM +1 415 279 8455


“You wouldn’t blow-dry your hair with a

hectic weeks, amidst other coursework and

jet engine,” says co-founder John Stanfield,

the varied concerns of students nearing the

reflecting on the irony of driving automobiles

end of the school year, the team of five rolled

to accomplish short trips.

out an electric vehicle that they believe will



John and four



begin a long overdue dialogue regarding our

graduate Design Program teamed up in

choices in transportation.

the last ten weeks of graduate school to

assures teammate David Goligorsky “but

see if they could imagine and build a more

they are designed to be efficient for trips most

appropriate solution to our short-distance

people rarely take.” The team bolstered their

mobility needs. The intent of this team’s work

research with field studies using methods

was to create a concept vehicle that would

borrowed from Ethnography and Sociology.

replace the 4,000-pound, 200-horsepower car for common short trips.

In those ten

“We like cars,”

On paper, the team appears to be a motley crew of academic backgrounds and loosely

affiliated career pursuits. Stanfield earned an

as a professional baker in Massachusetts.

undergraduate degree in Physics and went

Brian Ng holds undergraduate degrees

on to join a team of firefighters jumping from

in both Electrical Engineering and Fine

helicopters to battle forest blazes. He has also

Art, working for the better part of a decade

worked Search & Rescue in Yosemite National


Park and run two businesses- a window-

Laboratory developing concept vehicles and

cleaning operation in San Francisco and a

interactions. Goligorsky studied Aerospace

Mercedes biodiesel conversion company in

Engineering and worked for a few years on

Los Angeles. Karen Shakespear also studied

Department of Defense contracts including

Physics and spent two post-graduate years

a hypersonic projectile for electromagnetic





Andrew Murphy is an Electrical

the WENG took its maiden voyage, pushing

Engineer with several years of experience

off from Building 610, or The Loft to those in

working on electromechanical systems and

the know. The drivetrain includes a pair of

running his own design consulting firm called

1.2kW in-hub DC brushless motors propelled

Monkey Wrench Design. This utterly disparate

by 60V from a bundle of LiFePO4 (lithium

amalgamation of backgrounds is a trademark

iron phosphate) battery cells.

of the Stanford program in Design and turned

controllers manage the dialogue between

out to be a perfectly complimentary pairing of

the twist-grip throttle, the battery pack, and

skill-sets that allowed for one team member

the hub motors. Customized motor controller

to jump in where another’s abilities began to

software dictates a torque value to the

tail off.

individual motors, eliminating the need for a

Two motor

At the beginning of June, just hours before

mechanical differential and freeing the vehicle

their final presentation to faculty advisors,

from the clutter of gears and axles. Each

rear wheel is mounted on a swing-arm

Sunnyvale, CA called Animatics.


suspension borrowed from the scooter

motor drives a custom gearbox designed

industry. These are complemented by a

and manufactured by Mr. Murphy, who

leaf spring suspension at the front wheels,

bought his own 3-axis CNC mill at a used

offering a fantastically smooth ride.

equipment auction. The gearbox transfers

One of the most interesting technical

rotary motion from the high-speed motor

features of the WENG is its unique

to the linear action of a typical rack-and-

steer-by-wire system.

There’s an egg-

pinion steering mechanism, converting

shaped aluminum enclosure mounted

that thumb input to turning authority. “The

to the handlebars housing a thumb

steering feels strange at first, but gets

joystick harvested from a PS3 video

to be intuitive within a few blocks,” says

game controller.

It communicates with

Brian Ng, whose contributions include the

a gifted smart motor from a company in

design sketches of the prototype vehicle.

“It’s like Mario Karts in real life!” The WENG was built nearly entirely by hand with rare exceptions.

Shakespear’s talent

three switches including an On/Off, Forward/ Reverse, and a toggle for the lathe-turned and hand-wired LED headlights.

at the bakery translated well to the machine

All said, the WENG rides like a magic

shop where she handled a lions share of

carpet and looks like a lunar rover for

the build and all the detailed handiwork.

exploring one’s local environs. This vehicle

The group MIG- and TIG-welded the steel

is a concept prototype, however, and requires

chassis, crafted the gorgeous wooden deck,

some changes before it can see production.

bent steel tube, formed sheet metal, and

After graduation and the barrage of press

even upholstered the scooter-style seats by

coverage that followed the release of the

hand (with grips to match.) The dashboard

WENG, the team was offered grant funding

is a spartan but effective laser-cut panel with

from Lightspeed Venture Partners.


annual no-strings-attached summer grant


gives select entrepreneurs the opportunity

continued to iterate and refine the Design

to incubate a business idea under the

and Engineering. The team is just starting

wing of seasoned venture capitalists and

to look for funding from angel investors,

vetted serial-entrepreneurs.

For this,

so keep your eyes peeled for when these

team WENG welcomed Graeme Waitzkin,

friendly electric vehicles take to the street.

a recent alum from Stanford’s Graduate

Then again, they’ll be hard to overlook.

School of Business, to scope the business






WENG MOTOR CO. Press Release  

A flavor for the story behind WENG MOTOR CO.