ISU solar car to visit Clay County

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Iowa State University mascot Cy poses with the solar car. (Photo submitted)

Iowa State University will bring its PrISUm Solar Car to the Flagfest parade on Saturday.

The PrISUm Solar Car is the world's first solar utility vehicle named Penumbra. As the vehicle drives, the sun recharges the onboard batteries.

Penumbra contains four seats and features Bluetooth audio and wireless charging for cellphones. It only takes a few hours in the sun to fully charge Penumbra's batteries and its top driving speed is 75 mph.

"In the past, our team and most other solar car teams have been focused on racing based cars. Ours changes the paradigm of transportation by showing that a consumer-based solar car is possible," SunRun Coordinator Smeet Mistry said.

When fully charged, Penumbra has a 200-mile range. On a sunny day, a constant speed of 40 mph can be achieved without any energy from the batteries.

"It is important to push technology forward because electric cars are becoming normalized. We think solar is the way to capture that electricity because the sun is an unlimited resource," Mistry said.

Penumbra will also be stopping at the Iowa Lakes Community College SERT Center in Estherville Thursday from 5-7 p.m.

"Every year we do a SunRun tour because of the ambitions our team has, we have expanded the tour. We feel our car is revolutionary and our goal is to inspire as many people across the state as possible," Mistry said.

Mistry added, "If it were to be mass produced, some of the manufacturing process would have to be redesigned because the car was custom-designed. Our goal in making this car is to show the traditional automakers that it is possible to make a vehicle like this and for the automakers to adopt the technologies and create a car for mass production."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: