The Iowa State University solar car got off to a good start as the 25-hundred mile North American Solar Challenge began in Austin, Texas Sunday. The I-S-U “Fusion” car pulled into the first checkpoint at Weatherford, Texas in first place in the stock car class, and 7th place overall. The director of the solar car project, Justin Steinlage, says strategy will play a big part in this race. He says they have to track the weather to preserve energy when it clouds up.He says the easiest thing for a driver to do would be to set the cruise control at the speed limit and drive, but he says that probably won’t be possible. Steinlage says they have plan for keeping track of the clouds. He says teammembers have written software that uses G-P-S data and information from the weather service that helps them calculate how fast they should be going. The cars need to have enough energy to maintain a minimum speed of 25 miles-an-hour. Steinlage says they can still do that even the sun doesn’t shine all the time.He says partially cloudy or overcast days will still give them enough sun for what they want to do. The race will go into Sioux City on Tuesday. The race will finish in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on July 27th.
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