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Source: Pixabay

Iowa State Engineering Team Creates World's First Solar Utility Vehicle

By Brian Spaen

Could a parking lot have the potential to generate electricity for an entire college? A group of Iowa State University students may have been able to create a full-size racecar, completely run on solar panels, that has the potential. It’ll be toured around the state before being sent to a racing event in Australia this October.

Team PrISUm unveiled the new vehicle, called Penumbra, at a public gathering near the campus last Friday. Traditionally, the now 140-student group created one-seat racecars, but they decided to change it up in their latest edition with a four-seat vehicle. Hannah Olson of the Iowa State Daily describes the new car as “an intersection between solar racing vehicles and mainstream SUVs.” 

Iowa State’s College of Engineering announced the vehicle last April, and the goal was to create a street-legal car. Work was actually started on the project two years ago. Costs reached the $750,000 mark, which more than doubled the amount of their previous car, the Phaeton. Most of that funding came from partners such as Delta, Boeing, and Altium.