Solar Powered Campervan
Thursday, 2 December 2021 | Craig
As the world strives to achieve net-zero goals to help combat global warming & climate change, 22 students in Eindhoven are looking to change the way we run our cars & campervans. We spoke with Solar Team Eindhoven about its latest project, Stella Vita, a self-sustaining house on wheels & the future of solar powered vehicles.
Who are Solar Team Eindhoven?
Solar Team Eindhoven is a team of 22 enthusiastic students who have a passion for innovation. Working independently of the University Of Technology, it is completely free to work on any projects it wishes, allowing it to stay ahead of the market by 5-10 years. By creating new energy efficient solar vehicles the team hopes to inspire the vehicle market & wider public to adopt more sustainable technology for both mobility & energy.
Solar Team Eindhoven believes solar power offers endless possibilities for driving & a future that makes efficient use of the sun's energy to create sustainable mobility for all.
"By introducing solar panels to vehicles' designs you will independent of the charging infrastructure, allowing you to go wherever you want", says the team in its public statements. Solar-powered vehicles can also make a positive contribution to the energy system by feeding energy back to the grid when parked up.
Since 2012 the team has worked on making the most efficient solar family cars and in 2013 it presented the worlds first 4-seater solar car. This showed the world that solar cars were much closer to reality than originally thought. In 2015, 2017 & 2019 it released Stella Lux, Stella Vie & Stella Era, making further improvements to the concept and breaking barriers with each new vehicle.
It later released Stella Family, which proved that you can run a family car solely on the energy of the sun. With four world championships in a row, the team is stepping up this year to prove you can do more with solar power vehicles, going beyond just driving them and actually living in them.
In 2021 the team has created Stella Vita, a mobile house in which you can live, work & travel, all with the power of the sun. Generating energy through solar panels on the roof, Stella Vita uses the energy for both driving and living. Using a unique energy distribution system you can control the distribution of the power for either driving or your daily needs such as showering, cooking or watching TV. This system also makes you conscious of your energy usage & informs you of how much you have remaining. Providing the freedom to go wherever you want, the Stella Vita allows you to drive on the road and live off-grid.
With 4.5kW of solar at peak & a 60kWh Lithium-Ion battery capacity, the Stella Vita has a top speed of 74 mph and a range of 372 miles (453 miles on a sunny day), so you'll have no limits on where you can travel.
We spoke with Team Manager Kjell Revenberg to find out what the biggest hurdle was when designing Stella Vita?
Kjell: The biggest hurdle was designing everything at the same time. People were designing completely different elements of the vehicle that had to comply with each other. However, if everything is designed at the same time it sometimes gives some issues.
As you look to inspire the market to adopt this technology, what are the current limitations for solar vehicle production?
Kjell: Solar panels are an extra cost that could be earned back over time, however, the extra investment at the start would probably be too much for a lot of people.
With these limitations in mind, when do you feel we will see solar vehicles becoming more commonplace?
Kjell: We have noticed that technologies are between 5-10 year ahead of the market, so ideally it would be in 5 years. Realistically, it would be 10.
Finally, what are the plans for the future?
Kjell: What's next? I do not know. Our team will do a lot more events to try and inspire as many people as possible. What the next team will do is up to them!
We would like to thank Kjell & the team for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish Solar Team Eindhoven the best of luck with their upcoming events & look forward to the advancements next year's team will make.
For more information on Solar Team Eindhoven & their upcoming events, visit their website here.
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