Blue Sky Solar Car Follows the Sun Across Australia

By Suzanne

A fleet of cars are racing 3,021 kilometers (1,877 miles) across Australia this week powered by nothing except solar energy. Among them is a car from Blue Sky Solar which was designed using Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.

Thirty-eight teams from 22 countries competing in the World Solar Challenge departed Darwin on Sunday the 6th and are expected to arrive in Adelaide Sunday the 13th. Vehicles must be highly efficient to both make the long trek and to make it in the fastest time.

Traditionally building vehicles for the race can be a year’s long process. But the Blue Sky Solar Car team was able to build a vehicle in just 13 months. Paul Park, Managing Director of the University of Toronto Blue Sky Solar Car team, said:

This was the first generation car on which we used the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. Not only did it help us collaborate better and improve work flow tremendously, it was critical to us being able to design and deliver the vehicle so quickly.

CATIA allowed us to fully integrate the systems in the vehicle and gave us the flexibility to design a world-class aero body while SIMULIA highlighted potential problems early in the design process and helped us avoid over-design.

3DEXPERIENCE design and realistic simulation apps allowed the Blue Sky Solar Car team to work on all their car’s systems under one interface – including mechanical, electrical and aerobody – from the first concept all the way through to manufacturing. The team deployed DELMIA’s Human Builder and virtual manikin applications in order to visualize ergonomics and driver comfort, and even identify and remedy flawed calculations in the design phase. SIMULIA’s advanced simulation technology aided in further validating the design intent – an analysis that had previously been done using only rudimentary hand calculations.

After three days the Blue Sky Solar Car team is in 9th place. You can track the vehicle here.

Watch “See You at the Finish Line”:

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F1 Star Jenson Button Launches Cambridge University’s Solar Race Car

By Tom

I’ve been fortunate enough to follow the Cambridge University Eco Racing team over the past year (you can follow them too: http://twitter.com/cuerendeavour) and see the car being designed from scratch. Last Weekend they launched their solar race car, named Endeavour, at the legendary Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, England. Adding excitement to the launch was the appearance of Jenson Button, Formula 1 championship leader and the star driver of Brawn GP’s racing team. Jenson helped launch the racer by autographing the vehicle in front of the world’s press and media. Check team photos and the video of Jenson signing the car here.

Jenson commented:

There’s some very impressive technology in this racing car. It may be a world away from an F1 car in terms of power, but to get a car to drive at 60mph using 2 horsepower takes cutting-edge engineering.

The main attraction of the Festival of Speed is the hill climb competition. The tricky course should be a breeze for the CUER team compared to the upcoming challenge their solar race car was made for – the 2009 World Solar Challenge. This daunting challenge will require the team’s car to race across the Australian outback from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Adelaide in South Australia. The 3000km race will take the teams competing a whole week to complete the journey, travelling the length of the infamous Stuart Highway.

The Cambridge team used SolidWorks for the overall car design. The car is a three wheeled tricycle configuration to reduce mass and simplify drive-train. The aluminium space-frame on top of which the carbon fibre composite shell sits has been designed to be as light weight as possible; weight is one , if not the main, consideration in the design of the car. With weight being such a crucial factor, Abaqus FEA was used to trim down the size of the Aluminium space frame chassis, and then virtually test the structural integrity of the frame. Earlier this year the team issued a joint press release with Dassault Systèmes that provides more information.

As the team races to the starting line in Australia later this year, they can rest assured knowing that with the help of Dassault Systèmes technology the car was designed to be as light, efficient, and nimble as possible!

Good luck team CUER!

Cheers,
Tom

P.S. I wish I could be in Australia to watch the race!

Tom Bianchi works as SIMULIA’s UK & Ireland marketing manager.



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