ISU To Bring Solar Powered Car To Avoca - CATEGORY Prime News: TITLE

(Sidney) -- Penumbra is coming to KMAland this weekend.

Penumbra--which means the partially-shaded outer region of a shadow caused by an opaque object--is the name of a solar-powered vehicle constructed by Iowa State University students making a 99-county tour this month. Several area communities are included on the vehicles "Sun Run" tour. Smeet Mistry, a junior at Iowa State, is Sun Run coordinator for Team PrISUM. Mistry tells KMA News the tour is designed to showcase the vehicle as the future of transportation.

"We've been designing solar cars for competition every two years," said Mistry. "This is our 14th car. We're just a group of students who have a passion for developing new technology."

Resembling a small hatchback or SUV, Mistry says Penumbra is the team's first consumer-based vehicle.

"It features four seats, four doors, cupholders, a large amount of trunk space, a 15-inch touch screen dash board which has Bluetooth capabilities, GPS and diagnostics, wireless charging for your phone, and external charging, so that you can just plug it in, in addition to the solar panels," he said.

The vehicle's top speed is 75 mph. Five stops are planned in the region this week. After appearing in Atlantic Saturday, the car stops in Corning and Lenox Sunday before arriving at the Iowa State University Extension office in Sidney Sunday at 4 p.m. From there, the vehicle and team travel to Avoca Monday. After the Sun Race wraps up June 24th, Mistry says Team PrISUm has big plans for the vehicle.

"The goal of this car is to take it down to Australia in October, for a race," said Mistry. "That will be across the continent. It's a one-week race from the north coast to the south coast, through the outback, and I think it will do just fine."

Mistry hopes residents check out the vehicle, and discover how reliable solar-powered transportation is.

"We're really trying to say that this is possible," he said. "Within the past, our cars have been focused on one person, competition based. What we're trying to say is you can have a normal car that's powered by the sun. It's not happening 50 years into the future--it's happening now."

A complete schedule for the ISU Team PrISUm's Sun Run is listed here.

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