Center for Automotive Research
- Reduced the amount of time required to design packaging and general parts
- Enabled first- and second-year engineering students to use the software intelligently and proficiently with minimal instruction
- Improved the torsional rigidity of the vehicle through integrated analysis
- Set several speed records and became the fast self-powered electric vehicle in history
To design a Land Speed Record (LSR) streamliner racing car – with an electric motor - that could run at 300 mph, students at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) at Ohio State had to design all systems, including the battery packs for powering the car, to fit into an extremely small and narrow automotive body.
CAR chose SolidWorks software because the software was easy to learn and use for students (including freshman) and had the key capabilities to do the job. The initial task was to develop the CAD models used to understand the packaging and shaping of the vehicle and study its aerodynamics. But SolidWorks turned out to be a versatile tool used for modeling and re-modeling the vehicle over four years. Using SolidWorks the students designed almost every component of the car. SolidWorks software’s assembly modeling, with its interference checking, proved especially crucial in building an optimal battery packaging system. It allowed students to visualize the space and minimize distance between parts while avoiding clashes, to fit in the maximum number of batteries while enabling fast battery servicing. SolidWorks also allowed students to apply masses to change the car’s center of gravity when that became necessary. It also provided an interface to SolidWorks Simulation software for a very detailed finite element analysis (FEA), which resulted in significant improvement to the car’s torsional rigidity. And SolidWorks allowed students to quickly generate 2D drawings of parts, to build them in the machine shop for testing. With SolidWorks software’s speed and accuracy, plus the dedication of about 20 student volunteers, in October 2004 a CAR-designed racer – the Buckeye Bullet – set the U.S. LSR for electric vehicles (E-III category) at 314.958 mph and the BNI International LSR at 271.737 mph. With an instantaneous exit speed of 321.8 mph, the Buckeye Bullet also became the fastest self-powered electric vehicle in history.