Hyperion’s reliability earns Team PrISUm a second place finish

Hyperion cruised across the St. Paul finish line Saturday for a second place finish despite a rainy morning.

Waking to gloomy skies and steady rain, Team PrISUm got off to a slow start as it left LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The team decided to take today’s final leg of the American Solar Car Challenge cautiously, seeing the lack of sun as a potential hazard for the solar-powered car.

“It looked like it was going to be rainy the whole way, so we were conservative—driving 20 to 35 miles per hour,” said Evan Stumpges, the team’s project director and a May graduate in mechanical engineering. “But it cleared up halfway through our 150-mile stretch, and by the time we arrived in St. Paul it was pretty hot and sunny.”

As the rain cleared, the team increased Hyperion’s speed, tweeting at one point “Just had Hyperion at 65MPH on the interstate!” This was the highest speed the solar car reached in the race and was just under the record speed of 70 MPH reached during a test run earlier this summer.

Although the team arrived fourth to the finish line behind Minnesota, Berkeley, and Principia, Hyperion retained its second place position as times from all days are added collectively, and Stumpges said the team had a fairly successful day. They also received awards for the best mechanical and electrical components overall.

“This is Team PrISUm’s best finish yet. We are all extremely proud of the work we’ve put into the car and that we’ve come such a long way in a short time,” said Stumpges.

Looking back on the race, the team is proud to say that it built the most reliable solar car Iowa State, and possibly even the American Solar Car Challenge, has seen, as Hyperion was able to  overcome several setbacks to achieve the second place finish including hitting a curb on an interstate on-ramp that caused considerable damage to the vehicle.

Team PrISUm looks forward to building on this year’s success and making improvements before the next cross-country race in 2014. Stumpges says the reliability of Hyperion will allow the next team to have more time for testing and strategy.

“It seems to be the area we lacked in and Michigan (who finished the race in first place) strived in,” he said. “They did very well this year because they were so familiar with their car and the course.”

For final times and more information, visit the American Solar Car Challenge website.