AMES – One hundred twenty Iowa State University students created the world’s first Solar Utility Vehicle. Named “Penumbra,” this solar-assisted electric vehicle has been made to change the paradigm of transportation. During the month of June, members from PrISUm (the ISU student organization that manufactured the car) are traveling to various counties in the state of Iowa to showcase the vehicle. #SunRun18 will be stopping 3-7 p.m. June 18 at Clarke County Fair Grounds.
Like most vehicles found in dealerships across the state, Penumbra contains four seats and features Bluetooth audio, USB ports, and cup holders. Where the differences begin is how Penumbra is powered. Instead of having a gas or diesel tank, Penumbra receives its energy from the sun. As the vehicle drives across the state, the sun recharges the onboard batteries. Fully charged, Penumbra has a “best in class” 200-mile range. On a sunny day, a constant speed of 40 mph can be achieved without any energy from the batteries.
“SunRun is a great opportunity for members of the local community to see the world’s first Solar Utility Vehicle and a variety of different STEM learning experiences!” said Mackenzie Klima, PrISUm’s tour contact.
At the stop in Clarke County this year, PrISUm Solar Car will be accompanied by several other organizations. Altec Osceola Body Plant will be hosting the event and, with the help of Clarke Electric Coop, will be displaying an Ariel lift truck. Iowa State College of Design will be having their FLEx (Forward Learning Experience) Trailer there as well. To top it off, there will be concessions available.