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Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917, Home, (515) 233-4801
Fusion averages 50 mph into Winnipeg
AMES, Iowa -- There were no electrical problems. No brake problems. No need to stop and fix something. No clouds either.
And so Fusion, Iowa State University's student-built solar car, raced into Canada Friday averaging 50 mph during the sixth day of the North American Solar Challenge. Race sponsors say the challenge is the longest solar car competition in the world.
Team PrISUm checked into the Winnipeg, Manitoba, Friday afternoon after spending 48 hours, 44 minutes and 23 seconds on the road from Austin, Texas. Fusion was the fourth car in the race's stock class into the checkpoint. Fusion trailed stock-class cars from Auburn University, the University of California Berkeley and Stanford University. Fusion was about 2 hours and 25 minutes behind Auburn.
Fusion was 12th into the checkpoint, also trailing eight cars in the race's more powerful open class. The University of Minnesota was first to Winnipeg.
Until Friday's 232 miles on the road, Fusion had been averaging about 40 mph. Why the jump in average speed?
"There was real nice sun today," said Tom Noonan, a junior from Berthoud, Colo., who's studying computer science. "That was a major contributor."
And a trouble-free day on the way to the border certainly helped, too.
The race will take Saturday off, allowing teams to rest and work on their cars before heading west out of Winnipeg on Sunday morning. Noonan said Team PrISUm would spend the break recharging the battery pack, cleaning the road grime from Fusion and inspecting all its mechanical and electrical systems.
"And we'll sit and rest," he said.
Twenty university teams started the 2,500-mile road race from Austin, Texas, to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Sunday. Thirteen cars made it into Winnipeg on Friday.
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Brian Scrimager, a communications specialist with Iowa State's College of Engineering, is joining Team PrISUm on the road. Read his eblog.
"There was real nice sun today."