5128 Etcheverry Hall, Mailstop 1740, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720

About Us

Etcheverry Hall

The UC Berkeley Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) has a legacy of involvement in automotive engineering, making important contributions to research in combustion, automated vehicle control, use of composite materials, vehicle dynamics, and manufacturing methods. Although the ME department does not currently play a large role in hybrid electric vehicle research, the department is well suited to enter this field, having on its faculty (and including Electrical Engineering) expertise in electric motor design, internal combustion engines, mechanical design, composite materials, controls, power electronics, and sustainable manufacturing. Both from a faculty research prospective, as well as the ME department’s mandate to educate the next generation of mechanical engineers, it would be very beneficial for the department to develop a presence in this technology space.


Professor Lieu

Professor Dennis K. Lieu, born in San Francisco, CA, received his BS, MS, and DE in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s. After graduate studies, Dr. Lieu worked as an advisory engineer in the disk file industry with IBM San Jose, where he directed the design and control of high performance DC brushless motors and control of spindle and structural vibration in the IBM 3390 disk file. In 1988, Dr. Lieu joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty at UC Berkeley. Prof. Lieu was the recipient of a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1989, the Pi Tau Sigma Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1990, and the 1992 Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award, which is the highest honor for teaching excellence on the U.C. Berkeley campus.


Professor Tongue

Professor Benson Tongue received his PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton in 1979. After further study at both Princeton and Stanford, he went on to become a professor first at Georgia Tech in 1983 and then UC Berkeley from 1988 to the present. His specialties lie in the areas of dynamics and dynamics systems, including vibrational response machinery and rotating systems, nonlinear dynamics and structural accoustics. Professor Tongue is extensively published, having written both textbooks on vibration, statics, and dynamics, but also articles covering both his research and renowned lecturing techniques.









Matthew Cheung is a 3rd year mechanical engineer. His academic interests are product design, and the materials and manufacturing that go into great products. To pursue his interests, he has worked with National Instruments, Autodesk, and L-3 Communications. And he will be at SpaceX for Fall 2016. He design and manufactured steering wheel ergonomic enhancement parts for RP-1, and is currently on the battery pack design team. Outside of industry and research, Matthew designed suspension components for racecars on the Berkeley Formula SAE team.


Hannah Ling, a 3rd year mechanical engineering student, currently serves as the student lab director. She loves solving problems and working with her hands to build things, as well as writing code and stories. She interned and published a research paper at ReMaterials through the Cal Energy Corps program last year, and will join the mechanical team at Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems in Summer 2016. Besides directing, she also works on the battery pack design team.


Leslie Leung is a 4th year physics student and currently leads the battery pack design team. In the fall she will go to UC Davis to pursue a graduate degree in mechanical engineering.


Jason Cheung is a 3rd year mechanical engineer. He designed and manufactured the flywheel containment system.


Menglong Guo is a 2nd year mechanical engineering student, and worked on the flywheel containment system and the oil circulation system.




Daniel Talancon, a PhD student hailing from La Habra, CA, received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Caltech in 2009. His research experience includes computational fluid dynamics and sustainable product design for developing countries, and he has worked on steam turbine generator fabrication. He volunteers at California’s San Questin State Prison, teaching Computer Aided Design programs like Solidworks and AutoCAD. Dan was in charge of the flywheel energy system in its entirety. He now works for Tesla Motors.

Nick Renda

Nick Renda, an undergraduate and master’s student from Saratoga, CA, enjoys getting his hands dirty and designing things that go fast or fly high. He has always enjoyed taking things apart to see how they work, and has worked on projects ranging from designing race car suspension systems to building computers.  He designed and manufactured the prototype flywheel’s vibration-damping mount and containment housing for RP-1. Nick was the student project lead, and worked with the rest of the lab to make sure things ran smoothly.


Patrick Holmes

Patrick Holmes, a mechanical engineering student from Santa Barbara, CA, has always loved engineering. From playing with blocks as an infant to drawing crazy rubber band launchers as a kid to building robots in high school, design has had an important role in Patrick’s life and continues to do so. He is interested in learning more of the techniques and tools available to engineers and applying these to his work for INSTAR, as well as learning to design more simply and elegantly. He worked on the mounts which attached the battery packs to the RP-1 platform, as well as updated the website.


Stefan Klein

Stefan Klein is a mechanical engineering student from Germany. He is passionate about all thing mechanical, especially cars. His interest in mechanical design led him to complete internships with Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and a local electric recreational vehicle company, and drove him to pursue the opportunities for design and innovation at INSTAR. He worked on designing and machining the steering system, battery pack and flywheel components.


Toby Ricco

Toby Ricco, a mechanical engineering student from Los Gatos, CA, was born a tinkerer and built high-performance electric scooters and go-karts throughout high school in the hope of being able to work on full-size vehicles one day. In the past two summers, he has interned for Tesla Motors, an electric vehicle company based in Palo Alto, CA. Toby helped lead INSTAR by contributing his knowledge of electric drive systems and karts. Toby graduated Berkeley Engineering’s five year master’s program, and is currently working for Tesla Motors.


Matt Dethlefsen

Matt Dethlefsen, an undergraduate and master’s mechanical engineering student from Santa Rosa, CA, has been designing and building things since he was 7. While interested in energy storage and usage in general, he is particularly inclined to delve into the mechanical systems that make efficient energy storage possible. Matt designed and manufactured mechanical systems for INSTAR, and was also involved with the FSAE team on campus as he could hardly get enough of engineering. Matt worked on a variable electronic/mechanical braking system for the RP-1 platform.