The Iowa State University solar car project was started in 1989 by the Iowa State University engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi. PrISUm, the first car constructed by the team, participated in the GM Sunrayce USA, from the EPCOT Center in Orlando, Florida, to the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan. The car finished 17th out of the 32-team field made up of colleges and universities throughout North America. After the race, ISU’s Tau Beta Pi could not continue to devote the time and energy necessary to design, build, and race a solar car. The project became a university-wide multidisciplinary organization.


Vehicle Specifications

  • Mechanical
  • Total Weight: < 1100 lbs

  • Suspension: MacPhearson Strut

  • Materials: Fiberglass (body), Aluminum Space Frame (structure)

  • Electrical
  • Motor: Uniq Mobility permanent magnet 1.5 hp brushless DC

  • Solar Array:

    • 750 cells
    • 750 watts peak
  • Battery:

    • Silver-Zinc
    • 3.0 kWh
    • 108V nominal

Where's it at now?

P1 was auctioned off during the fall of 2016 and was purchased by an alumni of the team. The vehicle is currently being restored in Colorado and will return to the Iowa State University campus upon completion.

P1 heading to her new home!


1990 GM Sunrayce USA

1990 GM Sunrayce USA: 17th place

The 1990 GM Sunrayce USA started on July 9th in Orlando, Florida and ended on July 19th in Warren, Michigan.  

  • Day 1: Mon, July 9: Start in Orlando, Florida; finish in Floral City, FL.
  • Day 2: Tue, July 10: Start in Floral Park, FL; finish in Tallahassee, FL.
  • Day 3: Wed, July 11: Start in Tallahassee, FL; finish in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • Day 4: Thu, July 12: Start in Montgomery, AL; finish in Haleyville, AL.
  • Day 5: Fri, July 13: Start in Haleyville, AL; finish in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
  • Day 6: Sat, July 14: Start in Spring Hill, TN; finish in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
  • Day 7: Sun, July 15: Start in Bowling Green, KY; finish in Louisville, KY.
  • Day 8: Sun, July 16: Start in Louisville, KY; finish in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Day 9: Mon, July 17: Start in Indianapolis, IN; finish in Greenville, Ohio.
  • Day 10: Tue, July 18: Start in Greenville, OH; finish in Mason, Michigan.
  • Day 11: Wed, July 19: Start in Mason, MI; finish in Warren, MI.

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