Students Reveal World’s First Solar-Powered ‘Family’ Car
The Solar Team Eindhoven (STE), from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in Holland, have presented what they claim is the world’s first solar-powered family car.
‘Stella’ is the first ‘energy-positive car’ with room for four people, a trunk, intuitive steering and a range of 600 kilometres. The car is currently being readied for the Cruiser class of the World Solar Challenge that starts in Australia in October 2013.
The solar cells of ‘Stella’ – Latin for star and also a reference to the family character of the car – generate more electricity on average than the car uses and that means the surplus electricity can be returned to the power grid, thereby making the car ‘energy-positive’.
By combining aerodynamic design with lightweight materials like carbon and aluminium, a fuel-efficient car has been designed, says the TU/e team. Intuitive driving is enabled by a steering wheel that expands or contracts when you are driving too fast or too slowly. STE will have the car officially certified for road use to prove that this truly is a fully-fledged car.
A multidisciplinary team (with 22 students from six different TU/e departments) has spent a year on this project that involves challenges from the fields of energy and mobility. TU/e professors Prof. Dr. Elena Lomonova and Prof. Dr. Ir. Maarten Steinbuch are members of the steering group.
University teams from all over the world will be competing in a 3,000 km long race through the Australian outback later on in the year. Solar Team Eindhoven is taking part in the Cruiser class in which the emphasis lies on practical and user-friendly solar cars rather than on speed.
Back in the Netherlands there will be a tour of high schools in an attempt to promote engineering and science in education.
Source: Eindhoven University of Technology