Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

4-30-07

Fusion races during North American Solar
Challenge

Fusion, Iowa State University's student-built solar race car, competes during the 2005 North American Solar Challenge. Photo by North American Solar Challenge.

Contacts:

Sarah Kelly, Team PrISUm, (515) 294-0899, smkelly@iastate.edu

Tina Tran, Team PrISUm, (515) 520-9077, train08@iastate.edu

Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917, mkrapfl@iastate.edu

Iowa State solar car team drives its renewable energy message across the state

AMES, Iowa -- Fusion can still put on a show of speed and efficiency.

And so 13 of the students who make up Iowa State University's Team PrISUm will take their solar race car on a SunRun around the state May 7-11. They'll show the car to elementary, middle school and high school students. They'll stop at a community college, an aviation museum and the Science Center of Iowa. They'll talk up the value of renewable energy and the fun of innovation. And they'll answer lots of questions about the car designed, built and raced by Iowa State students.

Fusion, racing long and low and sporting purple and blue racing flames on its aerodynamic wheel covers, competed in the 2005 North American Solar Challenge. It raced the 2,494.9 miles from Austin, Texas, to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in 71.5 hours. That was good enough for third place in the challenge's stock class.

When the students show off the car, "We'll talk about solar cells and how we can use them," said Tina Tran, an Iowa State senior from Keokuk who's studying mechanical engineering and is Team PrISUm's outreach director. "We also want kids to be involved in innovation. And we want to raise awareness of being more environmentally friendly."

The Iowa State students will also have something to say about the next North American Solar Challenge in the summer of 2008.

Sarah Kelly -- a junior from Rochester, Minn., who's studying mechanical engineering and is Team PrISUm's project director -- said students have just about completed the design work for their next solar race car. She said the race's rules have changed a little bit and drivers must sit in more of an upright position. So the next car will be a lot taller than Fusion and will look more like a production car.

Construction of the new car should start this summer, Kelly said.

The fund raising for it never ends: Kelly said the team hopes to raise $150,000 in cash and more than $250,000 in contributions of aluminum, carbon fiber, Kevlar and other materials.

And will the Iowa State students try to recruit some future Team PrISUm members while they're touring the state?

Oh yes, Tran said, "We're always hoping to do that."

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Quick look

Some of the students who make up Team PrISUm, Iowa State University's solar car team, will take the team's 2005 race car on a tour of the state. They'll spread the word about the potential for renewable energy.

Quote

"We'll talk about solar cells and how we can use them. We also want kids to be involved in innovation. And we want to raise awareness of being more environmentally friendly."

Tina Tran, an Iowa State senior from Keokuk who's studying mechanical engineering and is Team PrISUm's outreach director

The Fusion SunRun

May 7
  • 8:30 a.m., Ames Middle School
  • 11 a.m., East High School, Des Moines
  • 1 p.m., Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines
  • 4 p.m., Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame, Greenfield
May 8
  • 8:30 a.m., Lewis Central High School, Council Bluffs
  • 1:30 p.m., North Middle School, Sioux City
  • 4 p.m., Ice Cream Capital of the World Visitor Center, Le Mars
May 9
  • 8:30 a.m., Hampton-Dumont High School
  • 1:30 p.m., Wood Intermediate School, Davenport
May 10
  • 8:30 a.m., Muscatine County Extension, Muscatine
  • 10:30 a.m., Muscatine High School
  • 1:30 p.m., Musco Lighting, Muscatine
  • 4:30 p.m. Southeastern Community College, West Burlington
May 11
  • 8:30 a.m., Keokuk Middle School
  • 12 p.m., Wilson Elementary School, Ottumwa