Designing and Building the Solar-Powered Car of the Future with SOLIDWORKS
Students from Singapore Polytechnic finished in ninth place in the 2017 World Solar Challenge in a solar-powered car designed and built using SOLIDWORKS. Their car, not only had to be designed in accordance with strict competition design criteria but also needed to have the stamina to traverse 3000km across the unforgiving Australian outback, from Darwin to Adelaide, where temperatures fluctuated from single digits to 40°C within a single day.
A solar-powered car that does not compromise consumer appeal
To participate in the World Solar Challenge, held every two years in Australia, Singapore Polytechnic students needed to design and build a futuristic two-seater, fiber-composite, solar-powered electric vehicle: SunSPEC5. The team who participated in the challenge consisted of 35 students from various engineering diplomas, 12 lecturers, and three alumni. The car, SunSPEC5, an upgrade of the team’s previous entry in 2015, took 20 months from December 2015 to design and build. The team entered the cruiser category, which emphasises practicality, design and end-user appeal over speed.
“We wanted to build a solar vehicle that was uniquely Singapore-designed and built, but still retained the look and feel of a commercial vehicle,” said Mr Foo Fang Siong, Lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic. “It was a long journey to reach this level of design, experience and technology –six years, three races, more than nine different prototypes, including solar cars to create the SunSPEC5 model.”
Given the time taken to design and build a working model and prototype, it is crucial to have flexible software that not only has a short learning curve but allows the team to test and innovate the design easily. SOLIDWORKS was the answer.
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