A team of Dutch students are driving a “completely self-sufficient” solar-powered electric camper van on a month-long 3,000km journey from Eindhoven to the beach resort of Tarifa in Spain.The futuristic camper van, which doesn’t need to be powered at EV charging points, has been granted a road licence by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority, allowing it to be driven throughout the EU.
The vehicle, which has been called Stella Vita, is powered by solar panels on its roof and is capable of capturing enough energy from the sun to drive up to 730km on a sunny day – and allow the students to shower, watch TV, charge their laptops and make coffee.
Fold-out solar panels help maximise the solar energy captured by the car. Pic: STE / Bart van Overbeeke
Designed by students at Eindhoven University of Technology, Stella Vita’s roof slides up when it is parked, allowing additional solar panels to fold out and capture additional energy.When the roof is raised, it doubles the solar surface to as much as 17.5 square metres.
The team’s road trip sees them heading on a tour through Europe, driving from Eindhoven through Brussels, Paris, Bordeaux, Madrid, and then finishing in the beach resort of Tarifa at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula.
The vehicle, which has a top speed of 120kmh, is basically a self-powering mobile home that can house two passengers, with an interior that includes a kitchen, a bed, a sofa, shower, and toilet.
It was designed by Solar Team Eindhoven, a team of 22 students who have spent the last year a half building a vehicle that runs entirely on the energy of the sun.The team works independently of the university and of the market, and have previously won awards for designing solar-powered vehicles.”We believe that driving on solar energy is not a limitation, but on the contrary provides endless possibilities,” said the students.
The self-sustaining mobile home has a bed, toilet, kitchen, shower, and sofa. Pic: STE / Bart van Overbeeke
Stella Vita can house two passengers who are driving it through Europe. Pic: STE / Bart van Overbeeke
The tour is launched ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, where countries will discuss among other topics global efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.A UN report earlier this year warned that these efforts were falling “far short of what is required” in limiting the global temperature rise to 2C – or ideally 1.5C – by the end of the century.
It was designed by Solar Team Eindhoven, a team of 22 students. Pic: STE / Bart van Overbeeke
The students said: “We believe that the solution to the energy transition lies in the vehicles themselves. By fitting solar panels to your vehicle, you will be independent of the charging infrastructure.”This allows you to go wherever you want.”By making use of our greatest source of energy, the sun, we can extend mobility beyond driving alone. Electric driving can make a positive contribution to the energy system by feeding energy back into the grid.””The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”
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