Stella Vie the new standard
Dutch students refine solar car to seat five adults
STUDENTS in Solar Team Eindhoven have already showed the world that it is possible to create an energy efficient family car in first the Stella and then Stella Lux solar car.
Their next step aims to make solar cars both sexy for commuters and user friendly for families. They will do this by proving Stella Vie’s abilities in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge that aims to push the limits of new solar technology in Australia in mid-October.
The technological university will send a team of 23 students to compete in this biennial race, which this year allows all solar-powered cars to have only five square metres of solar panels.
The team will again compete in the Cruiser Class. This class sees vehicles with one or more passenger seats drive 1 000 km on sunlight only. It is expected that the Stella Vie will be the only car to seat five people in the solar race.
THE CAR FOR EVERYDAY LIFE
The Eindhoven team said on their website that “Vie” is both French for “life” and for the Roman numeral “V”, or five, as Stella Vie is the first solar powered family car to seat five people.
This third iteration of the Stella cars is lower than most conventional sports cars, but big doors and roof handles make ingress easier.
The interior features body-contoured seats and intuitive controls for both driving and infotainment.
FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION
While designing the aerodynamic shell of Stella Vie, the team pursued a perfect balance between aerodynamic and aesthetic design.
The result of this process yielded a car body that includes some well-known automotive design features while also being nine percent more aerodynamic than its predecessor, Stella Lux.
Although Stella Vie has a smaller battery and a solar array that is one square metre smaller, it still achieves a range of 1 000 km on a sunny summer day in the Netherlands.
The surplus energy generated by Vie can be supplied back to a house or the electric grid.
The smart charging and discharging system keeps track of energy prices and the user’s agenda in order to find the optimal time to charge or discharge.
Stella Vie’s charging status can also easily be checked through its connection with a smart thermostat.
EFFICIENT DRIVING ASSISTANCE
Through its updated solar navigator, which now takes gradient maps into account, Stella Vie finds the most efficient route and shows how much energy you will save compared to a standard fossil fuel-powered car. When approaching the destination, Vie will offer parking assistance. If enabled, Vie’s built-in solar parking system will use gradients, weather data and a parking probability map to guide you to a free parking spot.
The chosen parking spot is the one within range of the destination which yields the most solar energy.
While driving Stella Vie uses the latest V2X technology to warn the driver to anticipate upcoming traffic events, which allows for safer and more efficient driving. Finally, it also encourages the user to drive as efficiently as possible by giving subtle feedback through a built-in lighting system, this system warns the driver by turning red when either braking or accelerating too fiercely.
The new five-seater, full-electric Stella Vie can do at least 1 000 km using only sunlight as fuel.