Student team unveils world's first solar-powered family car

Jul 05, 2013
Student team unveils world’s first solar-powered family car
Stella, world's first solar-powered family car. Credit: Bart van Overbeeke.

The Solar Team Eindhoven (STE) of TU/e in the Netherlands presented the world's first solar-powered family car today. 'Stella' is the first 'energy-positive car' with room for four people, a trunk, intuitive steering and a range of 600 kilometers. This is the car being entered by the student team in the Cruiser class of the World Solar Challenge that starts in Australia in October 2013.

The of 'Stella' - Latin for star – generate more electricity on average than the car uses and that means the can be returned to the power grid, thereby making the car 'energy-positive'.

Solar Team Eindhoven has set itself the goal of developing the car of the future. By combining with like carbon and aluminum, a very fuel-efficient car has been designed, which also has ingenious applications like a LED strip and touchscreen that make all the buttons and knobs we know today superfluous. Intuitive driving is enabled by a that expands or contracts when you are driving too fast or too slowly. STE will have the car officially certified for road use to prove that this really is a fully-fledged car.

University teams from all over the world will be competing in a 3,000 km long race through the Australian outback. Solar Team Eindhoven is taking part in the Cruiser class in which the emphasis lies on practical and user-friendly solar cars rather than on speed. The 'solar race' takes place from 6 to 13 October 2013. Back in the Netherlands there will be a tour of high schools to promote engineering and science in education.

Thanks to Solar Team Eindhoven entry, TU/e is represented for the first time in the Solar World Challenge. A multidisciplinary team (with 22 students from six different TU/e departments) has spent a year on this project that involves challenges from the fields of energy and mobility. Cooperation with industry has given the students an opportunity to become familiar with top-notch entrepreneurship, thereby underlining TU/e's vision of educating the engineer of tomorrow.

Explore further: New solar car from U-Michigan has sleek, asymmetrical design (w/ Video)

More information: www.solarteameindhoven.nl/

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User comments : 17

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DGBEACH
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 05, 2013
Why does the car have a 600 km limited range if it is "energy positive"? Doesn't that mean it could drive forever, plus charge your cell phone battery?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2013
Why does the car have a 600 km limited range if it is "energy positive"?

Energy positive means that it can deliver more energy per day to the grid than it needs for the 600km drive. It doesn't mean that it generates more than it needs while its driving (in that mode it uses more than it generates). But 600km means it can be driven for 6 hours or so and the rest of the day it charges up (and 600km is quite an acceptable range per day).
Egleton
1.5 / 5 (11) Jul 06, 2013
Non-starter I am afraid. No sex appeal. It will inspire self-proclaimed comic geniuses to flash their tail feathers for the girls.
Cars are all about sex, not transport.
We will continue to burn oil even if it exterminates all life on earth. We cannot help ourselves. The lizard brain is too strong.
antialias_physorg
4.8 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2013
Cars are all about sex, not transport.

In the Netherlands lots of people ride bikes (which aren't that sexy). They go for transport - and have no need to use a bauble to impress others.
They do that the old fashioned way (you know: by being interesting human beings instead of trying to say "I'm boring. But look what I bought - isn't it shiny? I must be interesting by association!")

People will buy what is useful for the issue at hand. If the issue is transport then they will buy something that provides transport.
Skepticus
1.5 / 5 (8) Jul 06, 2013
With that all glass front, i doubt that it will get more than 1 star in a frontal crash test! Please don't run into the back of a truck, you will be headless.
geokstr
2 / 5 (8) Jul 07, 2013
With that all glass front, i doubt that it will get more than 1 star in a frontal crash test! Please don't run into the back of a truck, you will be headless.

Heck, in a collision with a 3 year old's tricycle this "family sedan" would be totaled.
VendicarE
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 07, 2013
"With that all glass front," - SkepTard

There is no glass in front.

VendicarE
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 07, 2013
"in a collision with a 3 year old's tricycle" - geokTard

Meanwhile American Automobile manufacturers produce cars with bumpers made from plastic and plastic foam that won't survive a 5mph bump without crushing.

geoksTard is an expert in corporate fellatio.

freethinking
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 07, 2013
Engineering is about learning how to do things. This car may not be practical, but it was created by student who no doubt learned a lot.

Poor engineering usually needs government funding and support, ie. the Prius, and all the solar/environmental firms that Obama has supported which went bankrupt.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (4) Jul 10, 2013
"With that all glass front," - SkepTard

There is no glass in front.


He he Vendi, that bubble "windscreen" in the pic of the article must be transparent aluminum...??
VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Jul 10, 2013
"Engineering is about learning how to do things." - FreeTard

Which is why you accomplish nothing.
VendicarE
3 / 5 (4) Jul 10, 2013
"He he Vendi, that bubble "windscreen" in the pic of the article must be transparent aluminum..." - SkeptiTard

Possibly in some alternate trek universe. In this universe it will be plastic, acrylic, kevlar, Polycarbonate, etc.

Certainly not glass.
Skepticus
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 11, 2013
"He he Vendi, that bubble "windscreen" in the pic of the article must be transparent aluminum..." - SkeptiTard

Possibly in some alternate trek universe. In this universe it will be plastic, acrylic, kevlar, Polycarbonate, etc.

Certainly not glass.

Good point. But as I originally said, if you ran into the back of a truck, all that transparent polymers won't save yer head...
JohnGee
2 / 5 (8) Jul 11, 2013
transparent aluminum
Transparent aluminum was invented before Kirk et al. traded it in Star Trek IV. What I'm trying to say is it is a real thing and was invented long before that scene in Star Trek IV in terms of the movie's chronology and real world chronology relative to the release of the movie.
Requiem
2 / 5 (6) Jul 11, 2013
If you're talking about ALON, that's a ceramic which happens to incorporate some alimunum, and shares very few properties with the metal version.

It's really not a very good material unless you want to stop .50 rounds in a 12"x12" window that's an inch thick. It's not even as good as cell-cast acrylic for a fish tank, if you could even get people to make you large enough sheets(and then afford them). It's possible that you could get a 400g tank with 1/8th or maybe even 1/16th, but it would be brittle, even more proned to scratching, and less transparent at 1/16th of an inch than cell-cast acrylic at 1 inch.
VendicarE
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 11, 2013
"I originally said, if you ran into the back of a truck, all that transparent polymers won't save yer head..." - Skepticus

You did, and kevlar and plexiglass would certainly save your head. Particularly at the speeds that car will be doing.
Requiem
2 / 5 (6) Jul 11, 2013
For the record, I actually did research ALON for a major fish tank project. At the current(per square inch) price, it wouldn't be downright prohibitively expensive, the sheets for a ~400g tank would be something like $10k compared with the $4500 that I ended up paying for a tank from Envision Acrylics, but when I called up the manufacturer they informed me that not only would they not make them in the sizes that I needed, but that they seriously discourage customers from using their product for any type of display tank application for the reasons mentioned above.

For example, if you had a very large fish(say a 3 foot Tiger Shovelnose Cat) that got spooked in said tank, a high-speed camera would show you the 1" acrylic bowing and then returning to it's original shape, while that same footage of the 1/16th" ALON tank would give you a spectacular view of your tank failing completely and your fish pouring out onto the floor.

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