Students at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) presented Stella Vie, a solar car for 5 occupants, this Wednesday. The team is looking to this car to secure its third world title at the World Solar Challenge in Australia (8-16 October) where it hopes to underline the potential of solar-powered family cars.

What is new about this car is that it is equipped to carry five occupants for the first time. It is also more efficient that all solar cars before it. With fewer solar panels on the roof, the car is still capable of a range of around 1,000 kilometers on a summer’s day in the Netherlands.

Stella Vie – a reference to daily family life – is ‘the car of the future’, according to the students. Powered by the sun, it can reach a speed of up to 130 km/h. The car also contains new, smart technology, like a parking navigation system that takes account of the position of the sun when parking.

The team of 23 students from the Eindhoven University of Technology will be defending its world title in this bi-annual, solar-powered car competition that runs 3,000 kilometers through the Australian outback. The team will compete in the Cruiser Class (for practical cars) where judging considers technical innovation, battery consumption and the number of occupants carried. Teams from Delft and Twente are competing in the Challenger Class in the battle for the fastest single-occupant car.

Foto’s (c) Bart van Overbeeke

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.