The creators of the new “self-propelled house on wheels” hope that their strange project will stimulate interest in solar vehicles. The Stella Vita was built by students at the University of Eindhoven Technology.
The 22 members of the solar group Eindhoven have previously developed a small solar-powered family car called the Stella Lux. According to Tegin Turn Horst, a team member at the university and a student of mechanical engineering, Stella Lux was energy efficient. “She has a lot of electricity, so she can turn on other electric vehicles,” Ter Horest told Ars.
After producing Stella Lux, the team began thinking about future projects and came up with a completely solar-powered home-made vehicle. In March, the students began building a tear-shaped solar cell and recently completed the project.
Livin ‘Stella Vita Loca
The vehicle is in the shape of aerodynamic teardrop of other solar-powered vehicles and features a series of solar panels on the roof. However, it also has an extra roof that slides when standing, making it easier to stand inside for cooking or sleeping. Their panels can also be folded outwards to increase the area to 17.5 square meters.
In Stella Vita, she can walk 730 miles (450 miles) on a sunny day, with no facilities. According to Ter Horses, the vehicle’s battery can be fully charged in two to three days, depending on the weather conditions. So the vehicle is really designed for tours with extended stops. However, the battery can be charged at charging stations, especially if it is cloudy.
Facilities in the vehicle include a bed, a small refrigerator, a toilet, a sofa and a small cooking area, all of which can be solar powered. Drivers can also charge their gadgets. The Terrest Horst says the vehicle is like a small house that offers everything a person needs.
Apparently bathing, making coffee, or charging a laptop can be eaten while driving a Stella Vita. The vehicle’s information system notifies drivers of their energy consumption so they can make decisions about their use. “You have to choose how you use your energy. You don’t have endless energy, ”said Ter Horst.
There and again
On Sunday, the solar group Eindhoven will start driving 3,000 kilometers south of Eindhoven to the tip of Spain. The trip will take about four weeks and the team members will be on their way to various events and universities.
Similar demonstrations have taken place in the past. For example, the challenge of the solar system to attract long-distance solar-powered teams from around the world to Australia. Although the World Solar Competition was canceled this year, the Stella Vita hike is not linked to any of these events.
According to Ter Horst, the team did not produce the prototype with the goal of mass production, but the vehicle could theoretically reach the market in five years. “We have the technology to make such cars, but consumers need to warm up,” he said. There are other cars in the area, such as the Lightyear. The appearance of the car may seem different from the usual vehicles, but the team hopes to handle it anyway.
“They look a little weird. They look like drops or something, ”said Ter Horst.