Today was the first day of the final two-day stage. We stopped for the night right outside of Waverly, Iowa. The day was partly cloudy on both ends and we couldn’t see the sun in the middle. We also visited Iowa State University, the home of PrISUm Solar car team, for a checkpoint! The checkpoint was fun because there were solar power exhibits and booths for adults and children alike to learn about solar power, charge their phones off of the sun, and build small solar cars! In addition, there were enough people there to make a large cheer as each team entered and exited the checkpoint!
We were rolling along at around 40 mph yesterday due to the weather conditions, so we got passed a lot on the highway. If the caravan has more than six cars piled up behind it, it has to pull to the side and let traffic pass. If the caravan pulls onto the shoulder and then the chase driver waves them past, we don’t have to lose much speed. Traffic dumps were pretty common yesterday, as the speed limits were around 65 mph.
There were no breakdowns today, and there was no down-time. The team is pleased that the car is rolling so smoothly, but we are still prepared to jump out and fix any flat tires or issues that occur. Wish us luck to finish the race without any stops during race time!
Despite the cloudy weather during the day, it cleared up around 6:00 pm when we stopped for nightly charging. We got in a good charge and then headed over to a Chinese buffet where everyone filled up on chocolate milk, fried rice, egg rolls, and chicken.
We would like to thank our sponsor of the day, Sunpower! Sunpower supplies the team with raw solar cells which we solder together and then encapsulate at 3M. The solar cells are grouped into sections of 8, 9, or 10 cells for easy soldering and assembly. The Solar cells are then attached to the top of the car and wired up to our power trackers which get the maximum power possible from the solar cells. For the entire race we have never charged off of the electric grid, even on the rest day! We charged the car off of the sun to fill up our battery before the race. We essentially have infinite MPGes for Centaurus III! Thank you Sunpower, your solar cells are efficient and makes our car truly one-of-a-kind!
Arlo was happy when the sun peaked through the clouds in the middle of the day and our array power increased dramatically, even if it was only for 10 minutes.
Jake enjoyed the Chinese buffet.
John was driving lead and squealed tires for the first time leaving quickly when stoplights turned green!
Graham liked when PrISUm solar car arrived at ISU and the driver jumped out. The first thing he said was “Hi Mom!” Toni also enjoyed the checkpoint, especially seeing the flexible solar cells.
Nick Sloan enjoyed playing cone toss with the team while the car was charging this evening.
Everyone on the team was pleased to meet an alumni who worked on Borealis III, Mike Couch! It was nice to meet him and hear about Borealis III!
Ethan enjoyed being Navigator and getting to relay John’s Jokes to the caravan. “Why couldn’t Jimmy ride a bicycle?” “Jimmy was an apple.”
Nick Bower enjoyed driving chase, though it was stressful at the end when we were deciding where to stop for the day.
Thank you for all of your support, see you in Minneapolis on Monday!