Principia Solar Car Update and Interview with Student Engineer Kali McKee

By Dora Smith

Principia College student Kali McKee works on solar car design with NX from Siemens PLM Software

You may remember Kali from our post The Secret to Designing Solar Cars. Now I’d like to share a little bit more from and about her. This semester I got the chance to visit the Principia Solar Team in their garage on the campus of Principia College.

Principia College solar car garage where student engineers design in NX.

The team shared updates on modifications they were making to their current Ra 7s car for exhibitions this year as well as plans for their new Ra 8. The new car will race in the American Solar Challenge next year and the World Solar Challenge in 2015. It will feature an additional wheel (four vs. three) as well as a light color vinyl wrap instead of clear coated black carbon fiber.

Kali provides an overview in this video interview:

Below are some screen shots from NX of the motor controller, seat and rotor.

Principia College uses NX from Siemens PLM Software to design this solar car motor controller.


Principia College uses NX to design this solar car seat


Principia College uses NX from Siemens PLM Software to design this solar car rotor.


The team’s newsletter includes some great detailed articles on solar car design (include a feature from the electrical team) as well as their team philosophy. Stay tuned to the Principia Solar Car media site and Twitter for the latest updates.

And for those of you attending PLM Connection Americas June 3-6 in Dallas, TX, you’ll get to see the car and several team members live.

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