Solar powered family car - a world first?

12th Jul 2013

In what is considered as a global first, students at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands have unveiled a solar powered car for the whole family.

The four-person vehicle, or Stella as she is being affectionately called, will be taking part in the biennial World Solar Challenge – a 3,000-kilometre race down the middle of Australia.

Contestants put pedal to the metal and blaze across the country from Adelaide down to Darwin in an effort to be crowned the best solar car in the world.

However, Stella has caused a bit of a conundrum for event organisers, who have had to create a completely new category to acknowledge her unique features.

Instead of being based on speed only, they have introduced a Cruiser Category, which will assess vehicles on their practicality and whether they could be used effectively in the real world.

Stella is built from lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium, generating power from a rooftop of high-yield silicon solar panels.

These panels are expected to produce more energy than the car consumes, with the remainder being stored in a battery.

Fancy getting your hands on a version of Stella? Well, the current model doesn't exactly scream comfort – however, Solar Team Eindhoven is aiming to get the car roadworthy and into the consumer market as soon as possible.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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