Improving aerodynamics for a winning Greenpower car design

By Bijy Vattathara

This article was originally in Simcenter Blog by @Adolique 

“The single biggest performance limiting factor for a Greenpower car is aerodynamic drag, and it is often overlooked where it should perhaps be incorporated during the earliest stages of design. It is often assumed that rolling resistance is a greater enemy, but even the most aerodynamic cars will spend approximately double the amount of energy fighting aerodynamic drag at 25mph when compared to what is being spent on rolling resistance.” – Luke Horsfall, Aerodynamics Design Engineer, Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Team []Greenpower_logo.png

Drag is an aerodynamic force which acts in the opposite direction to the motion of the car. It is mainly influenced by three design factors: Frontal area, body shape, and to some extent surface finish. Reducing aerodynamic drag can increase energy efficiency and top speed of the car significantly. Consequently, low aerodynamic drag should be a prime design objective for a Greenpower car and is best considered in the early stages of the car design.

But how can we understand the aerodynamic performance of a Greenpower car which is still being designed and not built yet? The solution is: Create a Digital Twin (a digital replica) of the car as a 3D CAD model, and test its aerodynamic performance in a “virtual wind tunnel” through computer simulations. Siemens’ Solid Edge 3D CAD software is a great tool for building a Digital Twin of a Greenpower car, where you can check multiple design ideas, and virtually test the aerodynamic performance of design variants using the Solid Edge add-in Simcenter FLOEFD. It should be noted that Solid Edge and Simcenter FLOEFD are available free of charge to all Greenpower teams. [] []

To help the teams get started quickly, Siemens offers a free starter pack download including a set of introduction slides, tutorial videos, and a ready-to-use Solid Edge 3D CAD model of a Greenpower Kit Car with sample Simcenter FLOEFD projects for virtual aerodynamic performance testing. [Download_Link].Greenpower_illustration_FloEfD.png

Design your Greenpower car like a pro with the help of Solid Edge and Simcenter FLOEFD – create 3D CAD models of your ideas, determine the aerodynamic parameters of your designs through computer simulation, and visualize the 3D airflow around your car so you can further improve its aerodynamic efficiency.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at