Student Built. Student Driven. University of Vermont Prepares for Formula Hybrid + Electric Competition

We say, “SOLIDWORKS is Everywhere!”  You never know where you will meet  SOLIDWORKS users.  My colleague, Matthew Hall took a plane to from Dallas to Boston and then took a bus to the University of Vermont campus to meet his wife for a ride home.  Walking through the halls, Matthew met a student coming out of a random door and asked  the question, “Do you use SOLIDWORKS?”  Our favorite answer, “Yes, the team does!”

That team is the University of Vermont Alternative Energy Racing Organization (UVM-AERO) that is preparing for Formula Hybrid Electric 2024 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  From Matthew’s simple encounter, I was fortunate to interview mechanical engineering student and battery lead, Caroline Johnson about her journey to UVM and the team’s evolution to compete at Formula Hybrid Electric April April 29 – May 2, 2024..

In high school, Caroline didn’t know much about engineering and loved history – but there were no jobs majoring in history.  She attended a “Women in Math” event for high school girls at  Penn State –  Berks near her hometown. She toured UVM campus and decided to try General Engineering.  Later she switched to Mechanical Engineering.

Caroline is loving UVM, the campus in northern Vermont,  and  her AERO team.  She joined the team freshman year and in the spring got small projects to work on. She invested in the club and became project lead for the paneling outside of car.  Now she is the battery pack project lead – a very important job for an electric vehicle. Caroline learned SOLIDWORKS in her engineering courses at UVM. Learning SOLIDWORKS helped Caroline get her engineering internship for the summer.



The club also hosts SOLIDWORKS – based training for its members too.  Their mascot, Bessie can be seen on campus and in the community – promoting their team and engineering skills. Caroline stated, “SOLIDWORKS is easy to use.  I’m happy UVM decided to use SOLIDWORKS.  It really prepares us to use in school and in industry.



The UVM-AERO team also uses SOLIDWORKS Electrical and SOLIDWORKS Simulation to help in the design.  There multi-discipline team is comprised of mechanical, electrical, computer science, civil, environmental, engineering science, forestry, and data science.

I asked Caroline about a forestry major on the team and she said, anyone can join. Members can learn hands-on skills in machining and welding too.

Over 18 years, I have seen Formula Hybrid Electric grow to a challenging international event.  Founded and run by the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, the Formula Hybrid+Electric is an interdisciplinary design and engineering challenge for undergraduate and graduate university students.  Students collaboratively design and build a formula-style electric or plug-in hybrid racecar and compete in a series of events. The competition is part of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Collegiate Design Series and is regarded as the most complex and dynamic of the series.

We wish University of Vermont Alternative Energy Racing Organization (UVM-AERO) and all the teams participating in Formula Hybrid Electric a successful event.  Thank you Caroline and Matthew Hall for sharing with the SOLIDWORKS Community.


Design well.  Marie


Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard