College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Heat gives Team PrISUm an edge in the American Solar Challenge

Team PrISUm lost valuable race time during yesterday’s rain, but they’re planning to make a comeback tomorrow – the fifth day of the American Solar Challenge.

“We had a hard time yesterday, but we still held onto third place,” said Rachel Hoke, the team’s treasurer and a junior in electrical engineering, “and we’re slowly working our way back up to second.”

Iowa State’s solar car Phaeton raced more than 215 miles today and arrived in third at the second stage stop in Overland Park, Kansas, which is a roughly halfway to the race’s finish line in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Now Team PrISUm is about four and a half hours behind the University of Michigan and two hours from the University of Minnesota.

Even at the stage stop, they can’t rest easy yet. They’re being followed closely by Oregon State University and Polytechnique Montreal: Esteban.

“The race is keeping close enough that any small mistake by any team could make the difference between one position and another,” a Team PrISUm Facebook post wrote.

But Hoke said the team is waiting for hot weather to make their big break and move up on the leader board. The other cars have battery packs that can store more electricity. Phaeton, on the other hand, uses batteries that are designed to perform better in the heat.

If everything goes as planned, “The heat will slow the other cars down while we race ahead at full speed,” Hoke said.