Automotive

Students to embark on 3,000-km road trip in "solar house on wheels"

Students to embark on 3,000-km...
Stella Vita's PV-packed roof can be raised at camp to give its two occupants room to stand upright inside
Stella Vita's PV-packed roof can be raised at camp to give its two occupants room to stand upright inside
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Stella Vita's PV-packed roof can be raised at camp to give its two occupants room to stand upright inside
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Stella Vita's PV-packed roof can be raised at camp to give its two occupants room to stand upright inside
Stella Vita has been designed and built by students from Solar Team Eindhoven
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Stella Vita has been designed and built by students from Solar Team Eindhoven
The solar array can double in size at camp thanks to additional fold-out panels
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The solar array can double in size at camp thanks to additional fold-out panels
Stella Vita is described as a kind of solar house on wheels, and it's easy to see why
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Stella Vita is described as a kind of solar house on wheels, and it's easy to see why
The cosy interior includes a kitchen block, bench seating and a dining table
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The cosy interior includes a kitchen block, bench seating and a dining table
The rear is home to a sleeping area for two
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The rear is home to a sleeping area for two
The team expects the Stella Vita camper to meet all its power needs, including cooking and the electric drive, from the solar array and battery bank
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The team expects the Stella Vita camper to meet all its power needs, including cooking and the electric drive, from the solar array and battery bank
When parked, the solar array can be expanded to 17.5 m2
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When parked, the solar array can be expanded to 17.5 m2
A no-frills cabin includes a center display and room for a portable speaker
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A no-frills cabin includes a center display and room for a portable speaker
The student team will embark on a 3,000-km road trip from Eindhoven to southern Spain on September 19
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The student team will embark on a 3,000-km road trip from Eindhoven to southern Spain on September 19
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The Solar Team from TU Eindhoven has built a number of super-efficient, solar-powered vehicles over the years to compete in World Solar Challenges, and has now raised the roof on its latest design. The Stella Vita camper will hit the road later this month for a 3,000-kilometer trip through Europe.

The curvy concept built by the 22-strong student team is described as a kind of solar house on wheels, and has an 8.8 m2 (94 ft2) solar array on its roof that harvests energy for the 60-kWh Li-ion battery bank while it rolls along at up to 120 km/h (74.5 mph), but slide-out panels can fold out for a total canopy area of 17.5 m2 (188 ft2) when parked at camp.

The solar array can double in size at camp thanks to additional fold-out panels
The solar array can double in size at camp thanks to additional fold-out panels

Not only that, the vehicle has a pop-up roof so the driver and passenger can comfortably stand and move around inside, cook in the kitchen, or take a shower - with all of the Stella Vita's power needs, including the electric drive system, expected to be met by the solar system alone, so there shouldn't be a need to rely on charging infrastructure along the travel route.

In the cabin, the driver can keep watch over energy stats via the center display, and there's room in the center console for a portable Bluetooth speaker. In addition to driver and passenger doors, the vehicle has two large opposing doors behind the cabin that open the interior to light and air, while those folded-out panels can also provide a little shade when campers are seated outside.

The cosy interior includes a kitchen block, bench seating and a dining table
The cosy interior includes a kitchen block, bench seating and a dining table

As well as a compact kitchen block, the interior of the Stella Vita hosts L-shaped bench seating with integrated storage, a small dining table, shelving and cabinetry and a sleeping area. There's mention of a TV and coffee-making facilities too, but nothing about a built-in toilet.

The student team will embark on a 3,000-km road trip from Eindhoven to southern Spain on September 19
The student team will embark on a 3,000-km road trip from Eindhoven to southern Spain on September 19

In bright sunlight, Solar Team Eindhoven says that the vehicle could travel up to 730 km (453.6 miles) in a day, and that the range on a fully charged battery could see as much as 600 km (372.8 miles) of motoring by night.

To prove the concept's capabilities, team members are due to embark on a European Solar Tour. Setting off from Eindhoven in the Netherlands on September 19, the epic adventurers will head south through Zolder toward Brussels, where a stopover is planned. More stops are planned for Paris, Le Mans, Île de Ré, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Zaragoza, Madrid, Toledo, and Córdoba, with the 3,000-km (1,864-mile) journey coming to an end in the southern-most city in Spain, Tarifa, on October 15.

Readers can follow the adventures on the project website.

Source: TU Eindhoven

View gallery - 10 images
12 comments
12 comments
Gabor Pauler
I hope that they do not have to back up too much during that 3000 kilometers...
vince
Wow I want one !!
CAVUMark
This I like. Great job students.
sunfly
This is genius.
Spud Murphy
Interesting concept, they could definitely sell these.
Demosthenes
As long as there are people with such ideas, you don't have to give up hope. Great thing.
Eddy
Bit confused with only a 60KWh battery for stationary as well as motive power. Supplemented of course by the huge roof panel while on the move if it is sunny. My 100KWh battery only runs my camp fridge for a few days even with a 120W panel on the roof.
Sciencie
8.8 Square meter array at say 30% efficiency = about 2.6KW for say 6 hours = 15 KWH so if the battery was flat it would take 4 days to charge it up with no driving and no cooking and no fridge. It,s going to be a very slow 3000KM drive . Me tinks there is a fuel burning rotating device hiding under the hood.
christopher
I was going to burn their idea down, but their math adds up - 150km range from the not-folder-out roof per day, or 300km from the fully folded out one more or less match perfectly. I used the Rivian R1t range numbers ( 300 miles on 135kwh battery ) with my home energy yield numbers ( https://www.energymatters.com.au/solar-location/brisbane-2-4001/ ) which are 4.8kwh/sq.m/day ...
ljaques
That thing is pretty cool, but it'll high-center going over most driveway bumps, let alone trying to go somewhere offroad, like a campsite in a park. Install airbags, please! I wonder what gas generator they're hiding in the storage area. LOL
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