SHOW makes living and driving hypermodern

This Friday, Solar Team Eindhoven will unveil its Stella Vita and Self-sustaining House on Wheels in the milk factory at the Kanaaldijk. “It’s SHOW time,” the student team’s announcement said. Apart from the tiny house on wheels itself, the team also places the presentation and the upcoming STE tour in a broader perspective: “Together, we need to head into the future.”

by
photo Bart van Overbeeke

The contrast between the industrial environment of the Kanaalkade, where the milk factory is located, and the new, shiny vehicle is a deliberate one. “We are heading towards a bright future,” says Kjell Revenberg, team manager of Solar Team Eindhoven 2021 (STE). “That future is sustainable and includes several parties. Apart from mobility, we also need to change how we live and the way we eat. That is why Phood Kitchen also hands out vegan snacks today.”

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STE mostly invited young students to its presentation, including secondary vocational education (mbo) students and high school students. “They are the ones who will bring about change in the future. We need them.” This afternoon, the students will have the chance to take part in a panel discussion with, among others, presenter Tim Senden, mobility expert Carlo van de Weijer, car sharing specialist Camiel Beeren and former politician and TU/e Professor Hans Jeekel.

The Self-Sustaining House on Wheels (SHOW) generates energy and water. It also serves as a house for those who wish to live inside it, and those who want to travel can take it on vacation. It has a minimum range of six hundred kilometers.

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Competing with oneself

When the choice for the design of SHOW was made, the team decided not to take part in the World Solar Challenge again. The fact that the race organization didn’t impose any restrictions gave the team more design freedom. But that didn’t make the project any easier. The team members laid down ambitious plans for themselves. The new solar vehicle needed to be bigger, more important for the future, and it had to go on a tour of Europe so that it can go ahead and start to change that part of the world.

The fact that today’s unveiling of SHOW didn’t suffer any delay is impressive. Team manager Revenberg talks about some of the setbacks STE had to deal with. “Almost half of the team had to self-quarantine at home for a week due to a COVID-19 infection. And it also took at least five days to fix the roof, which broke because a part of it came off.”

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But the largest obstacle proved to be the document (over one hundred pages!) with demands issued by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority. The handbrake was the last part of the vehicle that passed the test successfully last week. “That was a tense moment,” Revenberg says, “because the fact that we can take the vehicle on the road and make a tour of Europe is the crowning achievement of our project. We can fit SHOW on our trailer, but that’s plan B.”

Travelling through Europe

As of September 19, the entire team, joined by a few former members, an interpreter and image makers – thirty people in total – will follow SHOW in a convoy. They will travel to Tarifa in the south of Spain in thirty days. Along the way they will bring the European Solar Challenge in Zolder, the European Parliament in Brussels, the Dutch ambassador in Paris and the organizations of 24 Heures du Mans in Le Mans up to speed about the future of living and driving. They also have meetings scheduled with several universities, including the École Polytechnique and the Universidad de Córdoba, and they will also visit an event from the Tiny Houses Movement.

At this point, STE hasn’t found any manufacturers willing to bring SHOW to the market. “That would have been a remarkable feat, since we’ve just presented a concrete realization of our ideals to the public. But the Europe tour will surely bring us into contact with interested parties.”

The unveiling of SHOW takes place on Friday, September the 10th, starting at 16:00 hrs., and can be followed via a livestream.

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