Meet the Makers – PrISUm


Tell us about yourself.
My name is Matt Goode and I am a senior in Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University. When not in class, I dedicate all my free time to PrISUm, Iowa State University’s solar car team. It has always been my dream to build a vehicle from a blank sheet of paper, and through partaking and leading this club I am happy to report that we have done it. I hope to build electric vehicles for the everyone someday.

What are you presenting at Maker Faire Milwaukee?
PrISUm is showcasing Pheaton 2, the team’s 13th solar powered vehicle. The lightweight carbon fiber exterior and mechanical systems were handcrafted by Iowa State University students during the fall of 2015. Every aspect of the vehicle was designed, manufactured, and tested in the Midwest. The Phaeton 2 competed in the eight-day, 1,800-mile 2016 American Solar Challenge race from Ohio to South Dakota. The International Solarcar Federation awarded the team their Achievement Award, which led to the production of remote-controlled scale models of Phaeton 2, the only car to ever hold this honor. The models will be sold throughout the world to promote solar racing and the concept of “Brain Sports.”

What inspires you to make?
PrISUm’s mission is to build a practical solar car that changes the paradigm of transportation. In doing so, we strive to inspire future generations to pursue their passions through education.


What tips or advice would you give to someone who wants to become a Maker?
Never give up. Inventing is hard, and making your dreams come true is even harder. If you keep trying you will succeed greatness!

Tell us about one of your failed projects.
Building a vehicle from scratch is quite difficult. When first assembled, the suspension was improperly manufactured, the battery pack would not turn on, and the vehicle’s motor would not spin once given power. Overall, members spent over two years and thousands upon thousands of hours into Phaeton 2 to make it operational and race across the United States. During the race, the car fell off the road and into a ditch. The body was severely damaged and an axle/wheel was damaged in the accident. Members were able to fix the car and make it operational within 30 minutes.

If you could make one thing that would improve the world, what would it be?
PrISUm hopes to change people’s idea of what a car should be. Our new vehicle, Penumbra, has 4 seats and a rear hatch to store grocery items. This will be the world’s first solar utility vehicle, and we hope to make people think differently about what a vehicle can do for you. Once completed, the car will travel to all 99 counties in the state of Iowa, demonstrating the ease of use and feasibility of electric/solar electric vehicles.

For more info check out the 2016 profile page for PrISUm.