Solar Team Eindhoven students from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) have created the world’s first off-road vehicle solely powered by solar energy.
Known as the “Stella Terra,” the off-roader is robust enough to navigate not only on paved roads but also on rough terrain.
The Solar Team Eindhoven said that this vehicle is not only road-legal but also entirely self-sufficient, eliminating the need for charging stations.
The Stella Terra boasts impressive statistics, including a top speed of 145 kilometers per hour, a weight of 1,200 kilograms, and a remarkable maximum range of 630 kilometers on a sunny day, all thanks to the energy harvested from rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels.
Wisse Bos, the team manager of this innovative student group, emphasizes the challenges they faced: “Stella Terra must endure the demanding rigors of off-road terrain while maintaining efficiency and a lightweight design suitable for solar power. This compelled us to engineer nearly every aspect of Stella Terra ourselves, from the suspension to the inverters used for the solar panels.”
According to Bos, Stella Terra is five to ten years ahead of the current market. “We are pushing the boundaries of technology. With Stella Terra, we want to demonstrate that the transition to a sustainable future offers reasons for optimism and encourages individuals and companies to accelerate the energy transition.”
Stella Terra has undergone extensive testing in the Netherlands, but the variety of landscapes is limited. Therefore, the team will depart with Stella Terra to Morocco this October, where the solar car will cover nearly a thousand kilometers through various landscapes, finishing the journey in the Sahara, all powered by the sun.
Solar Team Eindhoven builds innovative, efficient cars powered by the sun every two years. The team has previously won the World Solar Challenge in Australia four times in a row, competing in the family car class (Cruiser Class). In 2021, the team made headlines worldwide by building a solar-powered campervan, Stella Vita, and traveling to the southernmost point of Europe with it.