The automotive industry has finally started to embrace battery-powered vehicles – but students at Eindhoven University of Technology are already thinking about what comes next.
A group of 22 coeds working under the name Solar Team Eindhoven has just unveiled Stella Vita, the world’s first entirely solar-powered camper, according to Ars Technica. The vehicle features a pop-up roof lined with solar panels that the students claim produce enough electricity to travel over 450 miles in a single day.
The Stella Vita, which the team calls a self-sustaining “house on wheels”, features a teardrop design that slopes dramatically in the rear. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing of designs, but the long roof provides plenty of surface area for solar panels. To further maximise this space, there are two partitions just below the roofline that pop out on both sides of the vehicle, effectively doubling the amount of solar panel area to 57.4 sq ft. The roof also pops up, increasing the interior space of the camper which is accessible via a rear set of passenger-side suicide doors. Inside, you’ll find a small cooking area and fridge, both of which run on solar power, as well as a toilet, couch and full-size bed with room for two adults.
Although there are no details about the camper’s battery pack or powertrain, Solar Team Eindhoven says the camper’s solar setup will be able to produce enough energy to travel up to 453 miles on a sunny day, if appliance use is kept to a minimum. It will take between two and three days for the mobile home to fully recharge, though, so it’s best suited for leisurely trips where you can schedule stops of a few days or more.
To show off what the Stella Vita can do, Solar Team Eindhoven plans to take its camper on a long road trip this month. Right now, the plan is to set forth from Eindhoven on Sunday, September 19 and drive to Punta de Tarifa, the southern-most tip of Spain (and therefore continental Europe). The distance between the two points is 1,468.5 miles, so it’ll be a good test of the camper’s capabilities.
Let’s hope nature doesn’t rain on their parade.