The sketch of the Stella Terra. Design: STE / Kiki Veen
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Solar Team Eindhoven – a TU Eindhoven student team – is building a solar-powered off-road car this year. It is the first time the students build a robust car that can perform outside paved roads. The Stella Terra is, as far as known, the first off-road car that runs on energy from the sun. The car is currently being developed and expected to hit the road in September, the team announces in a press release.

Solar energy is generated through solar panels on the roof. Through these panels, enough energy is generated not only to drive but also to live. For example, it is possible to use electricity to cook and charge devices such as a phone or cameras. This makes the user utterly independent of the charging infrastructure.

Hard task

“Building an off-road vehicle that does not rely on existing infrastructure presents new challenges. The vehicle must be able to handle the tough conditions of off-roading but also remain efficient and light enough to be solar-powered. Two contradictions that we are bringing together with Stella Terra,” explained Wisse Bos, team manager of Solar Team Eindhoven.

By pioneering, Solar Team Eindhoven wants to challenge the industry to innovate off the beaten path. Bos: “Our goal is to inspire the current market and society to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future – in mobility as well as energy.”

Rich Past

Solar Team Eindhoven has a rich history. Every two years, the student team builds a car powered by the sun. In the past, the team became world champion four times in a row during the famous World Solar Challenge in Australia, in the class for family cars (Cruiser class). In 2021, the team gained worldwide attention by building a solar-powered motorhome with which they traveled to the southernmost tip of Europe. So this year, the team is choosing not to participate in the World Solar Challenge in Australia but to develop its own solar car.