Published on October 17th, 2013 | by James Ayre


Stella Takes First At World Solar Challenge — “World’s First Solar-Powered Family Car” Wins Michelin Cruiser Class

October 17th, 2013 by  

Originally published on Solar Love.

Eindhoven University of Technology’s “Stella” — a relatively “normal-looking” solar-powered four-wheeler, normal by solar-car standards anyways — took first place in the Michelin Cruiser class at this year’s World Solar Challenge race in Australia.

Billed as “the world’s first solar-powered family car,” Stella completed the 3,000 kilometer journey from Darwin to Adelaide using nothing but the energy of the Sun, all while providing ample space for passengers. Developed in the Netherlands, Stella was designed to comfortably seat four people, while still possessing the ability to obtain respectable speeds, and as a result has notably different design parameters than a solar car like, say, the super-fast Nuna7.

Image Credit: Stella Interior via Flickr CC

Image Credit: Stella Interior via Flickr CC

The biannual cross-country race drew more than 40 participants this year, representing a total of 24 different countries. The Michelin Cruiser class in which Stella competed is judged on a combination of different factors, not simply speed — the goal is practicality, or to put it more directly, “the ultimate goal of an entrant (is) being able to meet the requirements for road registration in the country of origin.”

Elaborating on the first place finish in a blog post, Solar Team Eindhoven states:

After the time finish and the unofficial arrival in Adelaide, the team had to overcome one more obstacle. The practicality score on Saturday would be added up in order to determine the overall winner. The team was being judged on several aspects like comfort, features, styling and aesthetics but also parallel parking and cargo space.

A combination of time, recharging from the mains, the number of passengers and the final jury verdict on Saturday decided that the students from TU/e really were the World Champions in solar-powered family cars.

“We’ve set the new standard,” states team manager Lex Hoefsloot. “After one-and-a-half years of hard work we’ve not only proved that the world’s first solar-powered family car is now a reality, but at the same time we’ve won the World Solar Challenge.”

Find out more about Stella on the Solar Team Eindhoven website.

Also, here’s a short video about the car:

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • “Stella completed the 3,000 kilometer journey from Darwin to Adelaide using nothing but the energy of the Sun”

    Not so, alas.

    The entrants in the cruiser class were allowed to recharge their 15 kWh battery packs from the grid. And they did. How much electricity they used form the grid apparently affected the final score, so using as much solar as possible improves your chances of winning.

  • Wayne Williamson

    Wow…cool looking car…and it works too…
    Probably not practical for real world…then again who knows…..

  • Ronald Brakels

    And here I was thinking that Sunswift’s eVe of the of the University of New South Wales was the winner in that class. I suppose I confused the fact that it was the first across the finish line who was first with regards to total score. Looks like I have a correction to make. But I’m not at all surprised that Stella won. She’s an excellent vehicle designed, built, and run by an excellent team.

    • Definitely caught the eye of people around the world.

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