As electric cars catch people's interest more and more every passing day, a team of students from Eindhoven University is taking a big leap into the future and embarking on a Euro trip in a solar-powered vehicle. What makes the project even more interesting is the fact that this vehicle is a full-fledge home with a living area, shower, cooking range, and even an infotainment system.
Dubbed Stella Vita, this mobile home is designed by the Solar Team, a team of ambitious students from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands who, according to their website, "innovate without preconceptions and pressure of market demands". The team is working towards a sustainable future where life can be powered by the Sun. So far, they have designed multiple solar-powered vehicles, including a road-legal five-seater car, Stella Vie.
The latest addition is Stella Vita. It comes with "an official m1 license plate, which means that we can drive everywhere on the open road," team manager, Kjell Revenberg told IE in an email interview.
The team has been quite meticulous in its design and has provided clear areas for cooking, showering, and sleeping inside the home on wheels, without compromising on the drivability of the vehicle.
The coolest feature of the vehicle is its expandable roof system. When off the road, an electric system pushes the roof further up, and two additional panels pop out increasing the solar capture area to 188 sq. ft (17.5 sq. meters), twice as much compared to when the vehicle is mobile, Revenberg said. Underneath, the area of the living space is almost six and a half feet (two meters) making it a comfortable habitat for two with a sofa, table, bed, and a kitchen.
The infotainment system that is connected to all parts of the vehicle also doubles up as an energy meter, providing details of how much energy is utilized when performing certain tasks around the living area. Revenberg said, "we want the people to be more aware of how much energy is used during these tasks, so we can all be less wasteful."
The team now plans to go on a trip to the southern tip of Spain and meet up with people on the way and spread their story. While explaining the motives for the 1,800-mile (2,896 km) long trip they plan to take over a month-long period, Revenberg told IE that they will also visit universities in hopes to inspire other students to drum up new innovations in the area and meet up with politicians in a bid to nudge them to take necessary actions to fight climate change.
If you thought that solar power would be slowing them down, the vehicle is capable of clocking over 450 miles (730km) every day. However, the journey is not about how quickly the trip can be made. Instead, it will be a demonstration that a solar vehicle home is a good investment in the long run. "You don't have to pay for your electricity, you are 100% sure that it is green energy and you are independent of the infrastructure of the country you're in," Revenberg says.
Next year, the team plans to return to school. Though, not to worry as they also have plans to build the first commercial solar-powered car and claim that they are very close.