Solar-Powered Car For Families

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We’ll keep you posted on more World Solar Challenge stories as the 2013 World Solar Challenge approaches, commences, and ends. For now, check out this awesome solar-powered family car from the Netherlands!

If you’re unfamiliar with the World Solar Challenge, it’s an event where universities and research institutes create solar-powered cars and race them 3000 kilometers (1864 miles) across the hot, dry landscape of Australia. Pretty cool. This year, Solar Team Eindhoven (STE) of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is doing something a bit different than normal, as it has created a “solar-powered family car” for the race.

solar powered car for families
Stella, TU/e’s solar-powered car for families.

Stella” is an “energy-positive car” (reportedly the first in the world). It has space for four people as well as a trunk. It has a range of 600 kilometers (373 miles) and can go up to 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph).

Naturally, the car is extremely aerodynamic and is made with lightweight materials like carbon and aluminum.

“Intuitive driving is enabled by a steering wheel that expands or contracts when driving too fast or too slowly,” Green Car Congress notes. “STE will have the car officially certified for road use to prove that this really is a fully-fledged car.”

“The car will factor in all available information, such as weather, road and traffic conditions in determining its optimal cruising speed,” Stella’s webpage states.

Stella is competing in the “Cruiser” class. In this class, practicality and user-friendliness are the focus, rather than creating the fastest solar-powered car possible.

The 2013 World Solar Challenge is scheduled to commence on October 6 and end on October 13.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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7 thoughts on “Solar-Powered Car For Families

  • That’d be 3000km for the World Solar Challenge, not 300.

    • I didn’t notice that when I read it, and I should know it’s a bit more than 300 kilometers from Darwin to Adelaide. I’m at the finish line so I’ll have to let you know how the World Solar Challange goes.

  • Thanks for the article Zachary. I think this type of solar car will become the mainstay of the race because they are so much more practical, and that grabs people’s attention, and sparks people’s imaginations.

    This is the article with the best pictures of Stella:

    I will be very interested to follow this and other similar “real world” cars in this years solar race. I’ll be looking for more details like the capacity of the PV cells, and the consumption of the car at everyday speeds, and the capacity of the battery pack, the type and set up of the motors, etc.


    • Yes, I find such cars much more interesting and fun. Much more interested in keeping an eye on them than the ones built simply for speed.

  • Shahan and all readers. Here is a good comparison.

    Fisker Karma had photovoltaic panel on its roof and the company claimed that the panels can provide 2% of the car’s energy.

    Karma is a very heavy car weighing 5,500 + pounds and also it has a short roof because of lengthy bonnet and trunk. Lets say if the PV Panel is installed on a Electric Van or Wagon without bonnet (since motor can be mounted on axle / wheeel) where the roof line is as long as the vehicle. If the vehicle is also very fuel efficient, then its possible that the PV Panel in that vehicle could give at least 10% of the vehicles energy.

    Just calculate and see if its possible. Its just my guess.
    Still we will need grid based power, still getting 10% from Sun is quite a lot of clean energy.

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