The Netherlands’ Solar Team Eindhoven just unveiled Stella, the world’s first solar-powered family car! The team comprises a group of 22 students who want to show the world that a family car that runs on solar energy is a real possibility today. The four-passenger vehicle is not only powered by the sun, but it also features new technologies that make it many times lighter and more efficient than today’s cars.
Using lightweight materials like carbon and aluminum, Stella has a range of around 373 miles. The energy generated by the car’s solar panels is also more than the car actually needs, which gives Stella the ability to send it excess energy to the power grid. That means she is also the world’s first “energy-positive car.”
The team will participate in the World Solar Challenge, which is a competition that takes the car across 1875 miles of the Australian Outback. They will take part in the brand-new Cruiser Class category of the WSC. This means that next to the criterion of speed, the car will be judged for the number of transported people, the amount of electricity taken from the grid, and its user friendliness. The race takes place from October 6 – October 13.
+ Solar Team Eindhoven
Love the concept! Great idea! How fast can it go? Important for those long trips families make. What happens after 373 miles?
great idea. this is the future of all car-business in fact.
My first thought regarding their definition of "range" would be range with no solar power, say at night. Of course, it's hard to imagine the batteries (assuming that's what they mean) could hold that much juice, unless they're assuming the most efficient speed, say around 45-50 mph. The Tesla model S, which has a slew of lithium ion cells, only has a range of around 300 miles - more or less depending on the actual speed. But this car is supposedly very lightweight, so it's hard to imagine they would include such a large mass of batteries in the design.
I have a batter-electric car which obviously has a range. But if this car is powered directly by its solar panels and allegedly produces more power than it uses, then what does it mean it has 373 miles range ? It falls apart at that point or what ? Shouldn't the range be infinite OR as long as the sun shines ?