Solar-powered cars may be the future of the vehicle industry, according to a recent report, and there is a vast array of car makers racing to enter the space. Believe it or not, though, some of the most consistently exciting innovations in the field of solar cars seem to be coming from a group of university students in the Netherlands.
Solar Team Eindhoven, a group of 16 students from the Netherlands’ Eindhoven University of Technology, just released the sketches for their newest project: the first-ever solar-powered off-road vehicle.
“Building an off-road vehicle that does not rely on existing infrastructure presents new challenges. The vehicle must be able to handle the tough conditions of off-roading but also remain efficient and light enough to be solar-powered. Two contradictions that we are bringing together with Stella Terra,” Wisse Bos, the team manager, said in a press release.
Solar Team Eindhoven expects to have a prototype on the road by September of this year.
Although the project might seem incredibly ambitious, Solar Team Eindhoven has already garnered a well-deserved reputation for embarking on ambitious solar projects and delivering. The team’s previous innovations include the Zem car, a car that cleans pollution from the air as it drives, and Stella Vita, the world’s first solar-powered RV, which can travel up to 450 miles between charges.
As with Stella Vita, the off-roading Stella Terra will be able to generate enough electricity from the solar panels on its roof to both drive the car and live on, powering electric cooking devices and charging phones.
“This makes the user completely independent of road and charging infrastructure,” according to the team’s website.
Projects like these have resulted in Solar Team Eindhoven winning the prestigious World Solar Challenge four years in a row. They hope their innovations will inspire others to see just how much solar-powered vehicles can do.
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