Solar Car Team Revs Up for Race Across Australia!

By NikPakvasa

Siemens PLM Software empowers Principia College solar car design

We will eagerly follow Principia College’s solar team’s progress in Australia. They will be participating in the World Solar Car Challenge. From October 16–23, the team will race almost 2,000 miles from Darwin to Adelaide.

We have been part of Principia College’s solar car design program for the past 10 years. Principia College solar team uses NX to design their solar car. They finished second in the 2008 North American Solar Challenge. To put Principia College’s achievements in perspective, it is a small liberal art college with 550 students!

Principia’s solar car combines aircraft grade composite construction with satellite-grade solar and solid lithium-polymer batteries. Each car is built on an ultra-light aluminum space frame chassis. The team of about 20 students design and construct a new car every two years. The current car, Ra 7, features completely redesigned battery pack, in-house custom circuitry to monitor and control battery pack, a steering wheel with a built-in LCD screen and new carbon fiber body.

By representing the entire car digitally in NX, the students avoid fit and interference problems. The integrated  CFD analysis and motion simulation capabilities of NX makes the validation of design very easy and allows students to evaluate many design alternatives quickly, and find the optimum design. Once the design is completed and validated the NX design data is sent to suppliers.

“The solar car project provides great experience for our students and great exposure for the school.” concludes Steve Shedd, Chair, Computer Science Department, “Our partnership with Siemens PLM Software is fundamental to our success.”

You can follow Principia solar team’s  progress at

You can also read more about Principia College and Siemens PLM Software partnership at

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