UI Students to Build Solar Car, Promoting Sustainable Technology and Increasing Interest in STEM
The University of Iowa (UI) Solar car team is raising funds to build a fully solar-powered car that they will race in the Solar Car Challenge, this July. The event is a two-week affair that spans from Nebraska to Oregon.
The UI team’s goal is to raise up to $80,000, which would go towards the process of crafting the vehicle, as well as hep fund outreach efforts and cover travel expenses. So far, the team has currently raised $8,000 with donations from notable organizations such as Iowa Rotocast Plastics, MidAmerican Energy, and Iowa City Area Development Group. The students have also started a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $4,000 to help fund the solar-powered electric battery that the car design will incorporate.
ISU’s Team PrISUm is another key benefactor in the UI team’s project; they donated the shell of their former solar car to the UI team this past November. Considering that ISU’s Team PrISUm has built as many as 13 solar-powered cars in just three decades, their contribution to UI’s initiative is definitely significant.
But back to the UI team… The students value the project as a valuable contribution to sustainable technology, viewing the enterprise as a way to catalyze school-aged children’s interest in STEM education. With fully solar-powered cars in the near future, it’s more important than ever that parents and teachers expose young students to the possibilities of pursuing a career in alternative energy fields. According to a recent International Renewable Energy Agency report, solar jobs expanded 17 times faster than the overall U.S. economy back in 2016. Clean car engineering is another subfield within the alternative energy sphere that is projected to grow in the days ahead.
We wish the UI team the best of luck in their project which promises to be a humble yet significant offering in the global initiative to further solar-powered car technology.