In 2013, a team of 20 students from the Netherlands' Eindhoven University of Technology amazed the global community with its world’s first solar-powered family car, Stella. That car’s performance went beyond even its creators’ expectations, running for 3000 kilometers (about 1864 mi) to win the biennial Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Cruiser Class, in Australia.
In addition to a renovated aerodynamic design, one of the most impressive features of the car is its innovative energy management system - the Solar Navigator - which is able to gather real-time weather data and, accordingly, provide suggestions for the optimal route in terms of solar radiation.
The short-term objective for Stella Lux’s team is to again compete in the Cruiser Class of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, traveling across the Australian outback from Darwin to Adelaide on October 18. This year’s competition puts more emphasis on speed than in previous years, which is why the current car has aimed to come into its bout lighter and with fewer seats, which brings the maximum speed to 125 km/h (approx. 77 miles per hour).
By clicking on the Support Us section of the Solar Team Eindhoven website, everyone may embrace the cause, by purchasing “Solar miles,” and receiving plenty of rewards in exchange. The highest priced perk is a return ticket to Adelaide, Australia to join the driving team’s celebration at the finish line.
The long-term dream of the team is to witness a mass production of solar cars, says Tommie Perenboom, member of Solar Team Eindhoven, who we caught up with to congratulate the team on their success to date:
Not Impossible Now: Can you please introduce yourself and your project to the Not Impossible community?
Tommie Perenboom: My name is Tommie Perenboom and I am an organization member of Solar Team Eindhoven. My responsibilities are focused on managing Events & PR. Solar Team Eindhoven is a team of 22 students, who built a family car, powered by the sun.
Where did the idea come from?
Tommie: The idea came from the previous car, Stella. First we thought: are we going to participate in the World Solar Challenge with a two-seater, or a family car? Eventually we opted for the second.
We did not simply commit to improving Stella, but decided to start from scratch. Of course, we took with us the pros and cons of feedback pointed out by our previous team. Our goal was to make Stella Lux more attractive and improve its efficiency. I believe we completed that task.
What is currently impossible that you would love to make not impossible?
Tommie: Nothing is impossible. However, it is very hard to mass produce solar cars, because they need to be light and strong. To make a solar car light and strong you probably want to produce it out of carbon fiber. Producing carbon and mass producing shapes out of it is currently very tricky. I would like to see a solution for these challenges.
If you could tackle anything – any issue, any disease, any disaster, any condition – what would it be?
Tommie: Selfishness. We live together, so let’s take care of each other.
Well said, Tommie, well said.