A new solar car, created by students from the Eindhoven University of Technology, has made history by cruising across Morocco and the Sahara, covering an impressive 620 miles (1,000 kilometers).
The car, known as Stella Terra, is the world’s very first solar vehicle capable of going off-road for long distances without needing a recharge.
The test drive was an essential step to evaluating Stella Terra’s durability and efficiency, as it faced a range of tough terrains during the journey.
This innovative two-seater car boasts a lightweight structure and aerodynamic design, setting a new standard for sustainable and long-distance travel, reported The Guardian.
First solar-powered SUV to drive across Morocco has 90 mph maximum speed
Stella Terra gets its power from several solar panels on its roof. It can run at maximum speeds of ninety miles per hour (145 kilometers per hour). Even though it is quite light at 1,200 kilograms (1.2 tons), this car can travel at least 440 miles (710 kilometers) on a sunny day.
Wisse Bos, who manages the Solar Team at Eindhoven, explained that the technology they used is way ahead of anything you would find elsewhere.
At our stop in Chefchaouen, Stella Terra encountered neighbouring mountains with rough trails dominated by steep inclines.🔝Stella Terra has overcome the harsh conditions of off-roading while remaining efficient enough to be powered by the sun. ☀️
📷 Bart van Overbeeke pic.twitter.com/LUnYmvNNr6
— Solar Team Eindhoven (@SolarEHV) October 13, 2023
They combined a lightweight frame with super-efficient solar panels, and it’s like they are from the future, about ten years ahead of the rest, claimed Wisse Bos.
He explained that Stella Terra has to handle the tough off-road conditions and still be light and efficient to run on solar power. This is why they had to create nearly everything for Stella Terra themselves, like the suspension and inverters for the solar panels.
“We are pushing the boundaries of technology,” stated Wisse Bos.
First solar SUV created by 22 students between 21 and 25 years old
Stella Terra comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (Li-ion). This battery helps it run in places with less sunlight but for shorter trips. The solar panels on the car provide so much power that you can use it to cook and charge things like your phone or camera.
A group of twenty-two students between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-five took a break from their studies for a year to make this incredible project a reality.
Stella Terra hit the road!
We have set off from the starting point of our journey, Tangier in the north of Morocco. 🔝Through striking landscapes, Stella Terra will be driving nearly a thousand kilometers to the Sahara, all powered by the sun. ☀️
📷 Bart van Overbeeke pic.twitter.com/pRnqmrhbTx
— Solar Team Eindhoven (@SolarEHV) October 12, 2023
The olive-green car had a steering problem during its week-and-a-half-long test in the dry and diverse landscapes of North Africa, stretching from Tangier to the Sahara. However, Bob van Ginkel, 24, and the technical manager of the project, quickly fixed it.
He said that the aim of this is to inspire car companies such as Land Rover and BMW to create a more environmentally friendly industry. The car was surprisingly comfortable in off-road situations because of its lightweight design, and it didn’t get stuck.