College Students Build First Solar Powered RV
Dubbed "Stella Vita", Dutch college students have built a solar-powered RV capable of 453 miles on a sunny day.
Students from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands are embarking on a maiden voyage to the southern tip of Spain in a self-built, first-of-its-kind, solar-powered camper van. A team of 22 coeds recently unveiled Stella Vita, an all-electric vehicle equipped with solar panels, capable of reaching upwards of 450 miles on a single charge.
The Stella Vita’s long roof provides surface area for solar panels, and two partitions below the roofline pop out from the sides of the vehicle, doubling its solar surface area to 57.4-square-feet.
The interior includes a solar-powered cooking area and refrigerator, a full-sized bed for two adults, a toilet, and a living area with a couch. The student team refers to the camper as a self-sustaining house on wheels.
The creators of the Stella Vita hope to inspire future interest in creating solar vehicles. The plan to travel the 1,468.5 miles from Eindhoven to Punta de Tarifa, the southernmost tip of Spain, should showcase the camper’s ability to charge during stopovers, given the battery stores require 2-3 days to fully recharge.
“You have to choose how you use your energy. You don’t have endless energy,” said Tijn Ter Horst, a member of the team and a mechanical engineering student at the university. The vehicle informs drivers of their energy consumption so they can make decisions about their usage, including when to stop for needed recharging.
The team previously created a smaller solar-powered family car called the Stella Lux, and afterward began brainstorming future projects. They came up with the idea of a home-like vehicle powered entirely by the Sun, and in March they began constructing the tear-shaped solar mobile home now known as Stella Vita.