A Solar-Powered RV Has Just Successfully Completed a 1,242-Mile Trip

Without stopping for fuel or charging.
Irmak Bayrakdar
The Stella Vita in Madrid. Solar Team Eindhoven

Last month, we had covered a story about a solar-powered house on wheels, a project from a 22-member student team from Eindhoven University. Named Stella Vita, this electric caravan is a full-fledged home that was planned to complete a 1,800-mile-long (2,896 km) trip across Southern Europe to spread awareness about climate change and hopefully inspire people along the way.

On October 15, after spending a year and a half designing and building Stella Vita, it has successfully ended its highly anticipated trip in Tarifa, the southernmost end of the Iberian Peninsula, but it wasn't all that easy. 

A solar-powered journey from Eindhoven to Tarifa

The Solar Team started off their journey from their home base, Eindhoven, on September 19. About the beginning of the trip, the team writes as part of an official announcement on their website: "We start in the Dutch 'City of Light'. From our home base, we are going to start the tour with our partners, family, and friends. In addition, we are going to make contacts and share our vision with expats living in Eindhoven."

In a previous interview, team manager Kjell Revenberg told IE that Stella Vita has "an official m1 license plate, which means that we can drive everywhere on the open road." In addition to an official plate, the campervan passed all inspections before going on the road, however, the solar-powered vehicle's drivetrain malfunctioned. The team then decided that it wasn't all too safe to drive on the highway and trailered the RV before eventually stopping at Zolder. 

A Solar-Powered RV Has Just Successfully Completed a 1,242-Mile Trip
Stella Vita on the road. Source: Solar Team Eindhoven

When in Zolder, the team's vehicle dynamics engineers worked hard to solve the problems of the powertrain by assembling new parts. After fixing that, they took off to Brussels where the team stayed over for one night. The next stop was France, and the team drove Stella Vita through Paris, Le Mans, Ile De Re, Bordeaux, and finally Biarritz. After France, the team went on to Spain.

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A Solar-Powered RV Has Just Successfully Completed a 1,242-Mile Trip
The road map for Stella Vita. Source: Solar Team Eindhoven

While it was smooth sailing from Zaragoza through Madrid, upon hearing strange noises coming from the RV, the team decided that it had to be trailered from Toledo to Córdoba for safety reasons. 

After many hurdles, the team reached their final destination of Tarifa, after having traveled a total of 1,242 miles (2,000 km). Meeting with lots of students and climate activists alike, the team spread awareness and introduced a brand new and sustainable way of mobility. What's more, the inspirational journey ended without stopping for fuel or plugging in to charge. A self-sustaining house on wheels, Stella Vita was powered by the Sun alone. 

In the official news release, Revenberg said "What will happen to Stella Vita? Well, the big dream is that there will be a company that actually takes our ideas to the next level. Has Elon Musk contacted us yet? Well, I’m expecting him to call at any moment!"