Crowds gather to observe the first four arriving solar cars from, left to right, Iowa State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Michigan and Polytechnique Montreal during the American Solar Challenge on Monday, July 28, 2014. The solar car race ended at the University of Minnesota's East Bank campus in Minneapolis, Minn., with the University of Michigan taking first place. (Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

ISU’s old solar car hits road to help UI’s ASME team

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Despite the rivalry between Iowa and Iowa State, PrISUm gave Iowa’s brand new solar car team by donating their old car.

By Sam Hookom

samuel-hookom@uiowa.edu

The University of Iowa’s American Society of Mechanical Engineers received a new solar car from an unexpected source and rival – Iowa State.

The team, which revamped itself this past spring and made the addition of a solar car group, received the vehicle earlier this month.

The car, which had been used by Iowa State in previous competitions, allows for ASME’s team to get a major head start in prepping to compete, allowing them to work with an already tested design the team hopes to have up and running soon.

“A recently formed team always has challenges proving themselves capable, especially when we try and tackle a big and ambitious project,” fundraising lead Francisco Fidalgo said. “Therefore, not only does this car help kick start the design and build progress, but also establish out legitimacy by sending out the message that Iowa State believes in us to donate their car.”

PrISUM also took members of ASME through their shop, giving them tips on designing and producing solar cars and on how to manage members, document, and set goals.

“Historically we’re a team that helps out other people,” Smeet Mistry, Assistant Project Director of PrISUm said. “We’ve done it in the past with Appalachian State, even in our recent race we were helping out some of our competitors with their composites, so it kind of comes natural to our team.”

The car, currently being worked on by ASME, is a favorite of many members of PrISUm, who are very excited to see the car ride once again. PrISUm, who has been around for over two decades, are already working two cars ahead, but still find time to keep an eye out to help ASME get their old car back on the road.

“It’s great to have the chassis because of the learning opportunity it gives us. It allows us to work on a proven vehicle and to gain experience to design our own car in the future,” UI student and mechanical team member Eben Shelton said.

The team is looking for both company sponsors and individuals looking to donate.

ASME’s solar car team president Winston Wallingford said he was very excited for the car.

“Iowa State’s contribution to our young team is a huge attribute to our future success. The jump start allows our members to jump right in on the design and manufacturing processes which everyone has been really excited about,” he said.

Rivalry aside, Mistry explained the collaborative spirit of the solar car community.

“The whole solar car community is very helpful. We’re all really in it to bring solar car racing and vehicle technology to the next step,” Mistry said.

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