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Eric Christensen, Team PrISUm, (515) 294-0899
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- PrISUm Spectrum, the seventh solar car designed and built by Iowa State University students, was unveiled today (April 25) at a ceremony in Howe Hall.

The car is a sleek, "modified airfoil" design and painted gold with color-phased paint. It is similar in design to the previous ISU solar car, PrISUm Odyssey, which raced in the 2001 American Solar Challenge. But Spectrum includes several important advances, including improved aerodynamics and higher efficiency solar cells.

With the unveiling of PrISUm Spectrum, the Iowa State solar car team now must focus on putting the final touches on the car and testing it in preparation for the American Solar Challenge. ASC is a Chicago to Los Angeles solar car race from July 13-23 that will cover almost 2,300 miles. It is a race of endurance as much as speed.

"We've spent nearly two years designing the car, testing individual parts of the car, and building it," said Team PrISUm director Eric Christensen. "Now the race will be to make the car as road worthy as possible by testing it as often as possible and working out the kinks in preparation for the American Solar Challenge."

As the Iowa State students test their new car, they also will be testing out race strategies, mapping out the exact route the race will take, and testing software that helps the team forecast the weather as they traverse the country. Twenty-one students make up the race team from Iowa State, each with an integral role to play during the race.

This year's race is roughly the same route used in 2001. The racecourse, which follows along portions of old Route 66, is the world's longest solar car race.

Iowa State students have built, tested and raced seven generations of solar cars dating back to 1990. The teams have participated in Sunrayce and American Solar Challenge solar car races, finishing as high as fifth place in 1999 with the PrISUm Phoenix car.


A downloadable image of Iowa State's new solar car, PrISUm Spectrum, will be available after 5 p.m. on April 25 at

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