PrISUm keeps rolling

PrISUm’s solar car, Hyperion, is displayed during Veishea.

Gibson Akers

After a year of success the ISU solar car team PrISUm is not pulling over to take a break. The team is charging on for the next big competition in 2014.

PrISUm, Iowa State’s solar car team has been on campus for more than 20 years, it wasn’t until this past summer’s stellar competition that the team has enjoyed the limelight.

This past summer PrISUm’s solar car took second place in the 2012 American Solar Challenge. A feat that the team hadn’t achieved in its entire history.

PrISUm was started in 1989 as a Tau Beta Pi project, to compete in the first ever GM Sunrayce. Since then the team has built 11 different solar powered cars, each one different with technology and style.

Today the team has over 40 members, and is always looking to expand. Joel Eakins, Project Director of PrISUm, said that the club is always looking to expand membership and welcome anyone interested.

“We want people to know that we are not just an engineer club, we welcome every kind of major, we need more than just engineers to run the club.” said, Eakins “We are a very different kind of bunch.”

As a learning experience for the future two members of the team said that the team has taught them hands on experience, and other valuable skills.

“This is a great way to get hands on experience.” said, team member Ryan Hupp. “You get to see the build process in context.”

“I enjoyed the team experience, you learn how to communicate with one another to make a great product.” said, team member Zach Noel.

Building a solar powered car isn’t a cheap business and requires continued support. The average cost to build one over two years is $250,000. PrISUM is supported by many committed groups and companies contributing both in cash and supplies.

“We have a great support network, we wouldn’t be able to continue competing without them.” said, Eakins.

Planning for the next competition in 2014 has a already began and are in the planning stages. Eakins had said they plan on building another three wheeled vehicle and are anticipating on competing with rivals Michigan.

“We’ve heard Michigan is going with a four wheel design, that’ll hopefully give us the upper hand.” said, Eakins.

The team is looking forward to competing in the 2014 race and to repeating the success that they had in 2012.