Kate Whitefoot is an associate professor in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Mechanical Design, a Fellow of Carnegie Mellon University’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, and a member of the NextManufacturing Center for additive manufacturing research. Prior to her current position, she served as a senior program officer and the Robert A. Pritzker fellow at the National Academy of Engineering, where she directed the Academy’s Manufacturing, Design, and Innovation program.
Professor Whitefoot’s research bridges engineering design theory and analysis with that of economics to inform product development, manufacturing, and policymaking. Her research interests include sustainable transportation and manufacturing systems, the influence of innovation and technology policies on engineering design and production, product lifecycle systems optimization, and automation with human-machine teaming.
Whitefoot has gained recognition nationally and internationally for her research and teaching. Her work is featured in The Washington Post, Popular Mechanics, Bloomberg Business, and Business Insider, and referenced in the 2017-2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy rulemaking. She has worked with several companies, including Boeing, Cummins, Ford, and IBM, and has been invited to present briefings at the White House, Capitol Hill, the Department of Commerce, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Clean Air as a Human Right
Improving the Adoption of New Products in the Marketplace
2011 Ph.D., Design Science (mechanical engineering & economics), University of Michigan
2008 MS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
2006 BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
CMU’s take on autoworkers in the electric car industry in Axios
As the auto industry begins making the switch over to electric vehicles (EVs), a popular contention is that it takes fewer workers to manufacture EVs. However, researchers at CMU have found that it actually takes more labor hours as battery cell production is a complex and time-consuming process.
Whitefoot comments on green cars in MSN
MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot comments on the future of green vehicles in MSN. “Moving heavy vehicles like school buses, construction equipment, and big trucks to electrification will definitely be slower,” she says.
Whitefoot comments on gas-powered green vehicles
MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot comments on gas-powered green vehicles in Newsweek. "Moving heavy vehicles like school buses. construction equipment and big trucks to electrification will definitely be slower. That's where improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines will be important,” Whitefoot says.
Whitefoot talks increasing electric vehicle popularity
MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot spoke to Nautilus about what’s behind the latest uptick in consumer interest in electric vehicles, breaking down several factors, including environmental impact and the influence of Tesla.
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Whitefoot talks cost of EVs, policy incentives
MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot said there are many policy incentives available to lower the cost of purchasing electric vehicles (EVs).
Tech advances will drive the transition to electric vehicles
Researchers found that advances in EV technology will likely bring significant growth to the market, relative to gasoline powered automobiles.
Whitefoot talks future of electric vehicles after California’s ban on gasoline vehicles
EPP/MechE’s Kate Whitefoot discussed future uptake of electric vehicles in Vox after California passed a measure banning the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars by 2035. “It is expected that EVs will dominate the new vehicle market nationwide in the future,” she said. “The uncertainty is exactly when this will occur.”
Engineering faculty featured in events at GCEAF
Many faculty from across the College of Engineering will be featured at events during this year’s Global Clean Energy Action Forum.
Whitefoot honored for work in design automation
EPP/MechE’s Kate Whitefoot has been recognized with the Young Investigator Award by the 2022 ASME Design Automation Committee.
Whitefoot quoted on electric vehicles
EPP/MechE’s Katie Whitefoot was quoted in a Vox article for her expertise in electric vehicles in public policy. “Efficiency regulations are still really important even as automakers are making pledges to electrify their fleets,” Whitefoot said.
Detroit Free Press
Whitefoot quoted on electric vehicle industry
EPP/MechE’s Kate Whitefoot was quoted by the Detroit Free Press on competition in the electric vehicle industry.
Whitefoot quoted on electronic vehicle demand
EPP/MechE’s Kate Whitefoot was quoted in The Dispatch on electronic vehicles (EV).