A “family-sized” car, the Stella Lux can seat four and generates energy with 5.8 square meters of solar cells. The vehicle also has a battery that can generate 15kWh of energy. That means that the car actually generates more energy than it consumes, making it ‘energy positive’. The future implications of this technology are tremendous; that extra energy could be released back into the grid for a return on investment or could be used to power off-the-grid homes.
The students who designed the Stella Lux and the older version, simply called Stella, even paused their studies for an entire year and a half so that the vehicle design could command their whole attention. The team involved 22 students total, all from different departments within the Eindhoven University of Technology.
The vehicle will be racing in the World Solar Challenge in Australia, travelling from Darwin to Adelaide, after the Stella Lux managed to cover a distance of 3000km despite only needing 64kWh. According to the research team, a family car travelling just 100km requires 5000 kWh.
The range per charge for each vehicle is ten times more than the average electric vehicle, getting over 1000km per charge.
The design includes a tunnel running right down the middle of the energy positive vehicle to take advantage of aerodynamics, also the reason the roof is extended on both sides.
It’s made from carbon fiber and aluminum, so it only weighs 375kg. It is also outfitted with a solar navigator system that can choose specific routes based on weather and minimize braking and acceleration. The doors can be opened using a SmartPhone app.
The Australian test range, speed as well as practicality, comfort and how likely the design is to be manufactured and purchased on a large scale.
Image (c) Eindhoven University of Technology