SOLAR CAR: New Challenge For Team

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The ISU Solar Car Team is back from a competition that relied on the sun. Team PrISUm builds a new car every two years. The team has already started on the school's twelfth car that's powered by the sun.

Team PrISUm member Dakota Morgan says, “Most cars you feel away from the road.” But, the car he’s driving isn't like most. He says, "With this car you're right up next to it, and so you really feel the road, and there's a lot of adrenaline. It's really fun."

The car is called Hyperion. Morgan says, "Hyperion is the son of the sun god in Greek Mythology."

The car is powered by the sun. Team PrISUm, a group of about thirty ISU students, designed and built the car two years ago. Last year it placed second in the American Solar Challenge.

This year, the team came in third. He says, "We were out of the race for almost five hours. We had some rear hub issues that kept us out of the race because we couldn't get the hub off, it's not very easy."

The team is already working on the mold of the next car. It will compete next summer. They're calling it P12 while it's in development. But, they're going to have people vote on another name soon.

Project Director Joel Eakins says, "We just call it P12 because the summer after the first year we always do a naming competition, so we've been getting submissions."

People have suggested one hundred names. Those are mostly sun related, like Helios and Phaeton. Students will finish the car by next summer. Eakins says, "It will be quite similar to Hyperion with the three wheel model."

Hyperion cost $300,000 to build. It's funded by corporate sponsors. And, cost is a big reason you don't see solar powered cars on the road. Morgan says, "Basically what we're waiting for at this point is for the cost of the cells and the efficiency of the batteries to get to the point where it's economical to put that on every single car."

It's something we could see in a decade or so. Until then, we'll have to watch what these students come up with every other year.

Click here to “like” the team's Facebook page, if you’d like to vote on the name.