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Published on September 17th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Stella Makes Her US Debut

September 17th, 2014 by  

You may remember a lovely “family-sized” solar-powered electric car named Stella. She raced in last year’s World Solar Challenge and won in the Michelin Cruiser Class. Reportedly, the Eindhoven crew behind the solar-powered car is looking to commercialize it within 5–10 years. Perhaps the US trip is aimed at connecting with potential investors.

Below are a bunch of photos of Stella at PlugShare’s offices in Venice, California, to launch National Drive Electric Event. Following the pictures is a lot more info on Stella. Thanks to Zan Dubin Scott of Plug In America for passing along the pictures! And thanks to PlugShare for initially taking and sharing them.

Zan also attended the second day of National Drive Electric Week (Tuesday) at UCLA. There are a couple of pictures from that day down at the bottom as well. Regarding the UCLA event, Zan wrote: “We had a great event at UCLA yesterday. Hundreds attended, despite a heat wave in Los Angeles. We gave some 150 test drives in a dozen different EVs.”

Birds Eye With Chevy Volt

Stella in front. Chevy Volt behind.

Stella 4

Stella in front. Chevy Volt behind.

Stella 5

Stella 6

Stella 7

Stella 8

Stella 9

Stella 10

Stella 11

Stella 12

Stella 13

Stella 14

Stella Launches up the Coast


A Tesla Model S at the UCLA National Drive Electric Week event.


A BYD electric bus at the UCLA National Drive Electric Week event.

ZDS, PVD and Team Eindhoven with Stella


Passed along to me by Plug In America: “Solar panels on the car mean you don’t have to plug it in to charge it. It has a 500-mile range, speeds up to 75-mph and a 15-kWh lithion-ion battery. The solar array is 1.5 kW, about the size for a small home. Thank you to the Dutch government and the Eindhoven University of Technology, whose students designed, built and raced Stella to win the 2013 World Solar Challenge, birthplace of the storied EV1, which launched our era’s EV resurgence. On average, Stella can generate twice the electricity it uses in a typical day. Students expect to see the car commercialized in five to 10 years. ‘This is a packaged deal, your energy comes with the car,’ said Lex Hoefsloot, leader of Stella’s Eindhoven student team.”

Lex added: “We were frustrated that the only solar-powered cars were one-seaters. We hadn’t seen this technology evolve in 20 years. We thought, why don’t we do it!” Their bigger goal is to counter climate change. They hope the car encourages solar and car companies to build similar solar-powered cars.

And here’s more info from the Eindhoven team leader:

Stella took 1.5 years from conception to road-ready. It is now driving along the coast toward its next National Drive Electric Week event in Cupertino on Saturday, 9-20. It uses solar panels commonly used on homes with a special light-weight coating that avoided the use of heavy glass.

The average person in Holland drives 37km or 25 miles per day. Stella can go 70km per day, roughly twice what’s needed.

Eindhoven students are developing a plan to commercialize the car. Stella is the first prototype. It could be on the market in 5–10 years. “It’s not going to be easy, but we have to try,” Hoefsloot said.

Stella consists of existing technology. Common solar panels. A Panasonic lithium-ion battery.

Peter Van Deventer, Diplomatic Liaison and Director of the Consulate General of The Netherlands’ Coast to Coast e-Mobility program, said that Stella was brought to the US through a public-private partnership with the Dutch government being the public partner….

Stella officially kicked off National Drive Electric Week and will drive in Cupertino’s National Drive Electric Week event parade on 9-20 to try to break the world record and receive a Guinness World Records(TM) certificate…. Stella will officially conclude National Drive Electric Week on 9-21 in Capitola, CA.

Photos by PlugShare, courtesy of Plug In America.

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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • shanton

    Wow, I am blown away! I have to hand it to the Dutch (not that my wife is Dutch), a very resourceful and technically oriented people. The Stella looks to me like the start of something wonderful in the electric vehicle field – an electric – using current, off the shelf solar panels and related parts, etc., that can carry a useful load, plus go the distance! The range may not be good enough for us, Americans, (my roundtrip commute is over 100 miles) but it can be upped. By simply streamlining it more, I am sure it could add another 10 or more miles to it range. Being a guy whose hobby is designing futuristic, but practical cars, I can present a few of my ideas – anytime. Free of cost.

  • jdavies

    Seeing that everyone will be able to charge their electric car at home every night, and increasingly at work or in public car parks, I don’t see the need for a solar panelled car, certainly not if it compromises style and comfort so massively. I think this is a non-starter, except for those who want to flaunt their green-ness.

    • Agreed.

      • tech_hippy

        The first argument that always gets trotted out about electric cars is that we are getting our electricity by burning coal – more electricity means more coal burnt. Myself I could happily forego a bit of polish to ride around on sun rays.

    • Lawrence Rhodes

      The return is much more when you consider never buying fuel. The only time you would plug in is when you want to give back to the grid or go on a long trip with night driving. The 4 thousand dollars you would pay for the panels is nothing over time. Consider a vehicle not unlike a sail boat which creates no local pollution unless it is docking with it’s diesel engine which could be replaced with solar and electric. My goal is to own a solar vehicle.

  • shecky vegas

    I wouldn’t dare call this a “family-sized” vehicle. Unless your family is a bunch of circus clowns.

  • mk1313

    I’d drive it but at 6’2″ looks like it needs a bit more headroom.

    • PaulScott58

      But, you’re a doggy! How did you get a license?

      • mk1313

        It’s that little metal tag around my neck.

    • This is made by the Dutch. Practically the tallest people in the world. I imagine it’s not as bad as it looks.

      But I’m just imagining. And I’m talking to a dog, so…

      • mk1313

        I have to fold pretty good getting into the volt and this looks….a bit more compact than the volt.

  • Frederik

    The article first says that the range is 500 miles, then that it is only 70 km. Quite a difference. What is it now?

    • Meh, that’s just a rounding error.

      Honestly, though, I’m emailing someone to get the correct number.

      • Kenny

        70 was rounded down from 7501.

      • Kyle Field

        Based on the way the article is worded, I believe the 1.5kw installation can generate enough power for 70km…with a 500 mi range on a full battery (15kwh).

        The Nissan Leaf has a 24kwh battery and goes 100 miles…so roughly 4.2mi/kwh. This car, on it’s 15kwh battery and a 500 mile range would mean that it would go 33.3 miles/kwh…a sizeable improvement but not beyond the realm of possibility when you consider we’re comparing a bare bones, optimized, streamlined vehicle to a fully loaded (uh…for a nissan) consumer vehicle with a higher coefficient of drag.

        I’m eager to see what Zach’s inquisition returns and what this evolves into for the consumer space 😀

    • Lawrence Rhodes

      That is solar miles. Which Stella can do about a hundred but it is speed dependent. If Stella is driven under 40 mph it never needs charging. The vehicle will go into range deprivation if driven too far in a day then it takes 10 to 15 hours in bright sunlight to charge.

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