Stanford Solar Car Reveals New Compact Car Design

The Stanford Solar Car team has brought new meaning to Sunday drives with the unveiling of its new solar powered vehicle: The Sundae.

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The student-run nonprofit organization revealed its latest sun-powered project on Saturday, July 1st, which will compete in the 2017 World Solar Challenge. As the latest car in Stanford’s long history of solar racing, the team hopes Sundae will be poised to follow the success of its predecessors.

The Stanford Solar Car team has spent more than a year designing, building and testing its new vehicle with tools such as Siemens integrated product design software, NX. While working with NX software, the team scaled down its vehicle to accommodate rule changes for this year’s World Solar Challenge.

Sundae is now the smallest of any of Stanford’s solar electric vehicles to date. Its new design allows for four square meters of silicon solar cells. It also has an optimized, aggressive aerodynamic body, even though the size of the mechanical components remain the same size.


Fitting so much hardware into a compact vehicle was a testament to the mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and design talent present at Stanford University. The team had help from Siemens PLM Software using NX to fine-tune the designs it iterated on using SolidWorks.

“The precision of detail we needed for our aerobody molds was too fine for SolidWorks, so without NX, I’m not sure what we would have done,” said Kelsey Josund, President of the Stanford’s Solar Car team currently perusing her Master’s degree in Computer science.

“During the aero design cycle, the team used NX’s deformation abilities and drew scribe lines into the final mold cycles,” Josund added. “And although the team ultimately didn’t have any parts that needed it, team members experimented with analyzing designs in Fibersim.”

The experience hasn’t only benefitted team members, who will soon be looking for jobs post-graduation. Josund said the team’s younger members also gained valuable experience using NX.

“When they are on the leadership team in the 2018-19 cycle, they will be able to confidently use NX and teach new members how to use it.”


Sundae is Stanford Solar Car team’s entry into the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, a 1,800-mile (3,000-kilometer) solar-powered vehicle race across the Australian Outback. The car will transport a single person across the Outback using only its solar panels and 5kWh solar power batteries.

Sundae will be shipped to Australia in September in preparation for the World Solar Challenge, which begins October 8 in Darwin. The Stanford Solar Car team will compete alongside teams hailing from universities all over the world to earn the title of world’s fastest solar car.

To keep up with the Stanford Solar Car team’s progress click here


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