Michigan State Police checks on Stella

It’s no mean feat getting a car on the road in the US when it has a Dutch license plate, and a mere one-month permit, and has been entirely ‘homemade’. But Solar Team Eindhoven (STE) is almost there: the final documents have been signed by Michigan State Police.

Before Stella was shipped to the US for her road trip, STE had already collected a fair number of socuments. The solar car is free to drive on Dutch roads, but before it’s allowed to do so in the US as well, it had to be exported, meet several environmental demands, and be cleared by the highway authority.

“We’ve arranged six or seven documents in the Netherlands”, says STE’s Lex Hoefsloot, who’s currently in Detroit. “But we still haven’t found an insurance company for our homemade car that will only be here for a month. We’re trying to arrange an American license plate, and we’ve just been checked by Michigan State Police, who paid us a visit at the fair we’re currently at.

According to Hoefsloot they were big, grumpy guys who looked like they were going to be difficult about everything, “but they turned out to be very helpful, and signed the final papers. Now we can apply for a Michigan license plate, after which we hope to find an insurer, too.”

Approval is especially important for the second part of Stella’s road trip. After a 4000-kilometer trip through the US in a truck, she’d like to hit the road herself in California where the car will be stopping by relevant companies, including Tesla and Google. STE will also be visiting the renowned Stanford University in Palo Alto.

For now, Stella can be admired at the congress for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in Detroit, the city of cars. “It’s one big showy event”, says Hoefsloot. “The audience is extremely excited. They’ve never seen a car like this one before, not even one that resembles it. They do know the World Solar Challenge, so they just love seeing Stella from up close.”

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