Meet the future family car
ALWYN VILJOEN continues to rave about the single most important car of the 20th century
TOM SELTEN Team manager, Solar
Team Eindhoven “We see a future where everybody drives a solar car, where all cars produce energy instead of consuming it.”
WHEN Wheels first reported on Stella, the solar-powered family car built by students in Solar Team Eindhoven (STE) from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in October 2013, we raved about it.
When Stella became road legal in July last year, we repeated our wonder, saying “the students’ main achievement was ‘making a solar-powered family saloon that is ready to go on sale in the real world”.
The students last week presented their sleeker, complete solar-powered wonder to the world.
Now called Stella Lux, this solarpowered car generates more power than it uses. Stop. Re-read the sentence above. Sure, it sounds like a perpetual power machine and the totals are theoretical, but on balance the Stella Lux is energypositive, which means it goes at least 1 000 km on a fully-charged battery pack.
The team plan to prove this by competing in the Cruiser Class of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia on October 18, 2015.
Solar Team Eindhoven has set itself the goal of developing the car of the future.
By combining the aerodynamic design with lightweight materials like carbon and aluminium, the Eindhoven student team have once again come up with a very energy-efficient design. Stella Lux can reach a range of 1 000 km on a sunny day in the Netherlands.
Excess energy can be returned to the power grip, helping to deal with societal problems relating to the use of energy.
This year the student team are once again taking part in the biennial Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia.
The race for solar-powered cars covers a distance of 3 000 km, and goes right through the heart of the outback from Darwin to Adelaide.
The Eindhoven team compete in the Cruiser Class for family cars. Here the emphasis is on building a practical, user-friendly solar-powered car, rather than on pure speed.
The team won the Cruiser Class title in 2013 with its first car, Stella. This year’s race places more emphasis on speed than in 2013, which is why they have decided to build a new and lighter car with fewer seats, while still going for a fully-fledged family car.
“By deciding to further improve on our solar-powered four-person car, we’re once again aiming to win while at the same time proving that this energy-positive family car offers a viable future scenario”, said Solar Team Eindhoven’s team manager Tom Selten.
After the World Solar Challenge the adventure doesn’t stop for the students.
After Australia there will be a tour through the Netherlands, China and maybe the USA in collaboration with the sponsors.
“With Stella Lux we want to take the next step in bringing a solar car to the consumer.
“Therefore we want to show Lux to as many people as possible and we hope to inspire them.
“We see a future where everybody drives a solar car, where all cars produce energy instead of consuming it,” said Selten.
Solar Team Eindhoven’s students with Stella Lux, a family car in which forms follows function to deliver a different type of streamlined design.
The interior of the Stella Lux is more spartan than luxurious, but as it was designed by Millenials, it has the obligatory seven-inch display screen and a docking station for a tablet, as well as funky LED lights along the white strips that function as warning lights.