Solar Team Eindhoven will build an off-road car
At the end of July, the new solar car Stella Terra will shine in the Atlas Mountains in Marocco and in the Sahara. In any case, that is what Wisse Bos, team manager of the Solar Team Eindhoven (STE), has set his sights on. "With this off-road car, we hope to literally pick up where the last team left things in 2021 with the Stella Vita camper; in Tarifa, Spain. That's why we want to make the crossing to Africa." But first a robust and aerodynamic car must be built. This afternoon the concept was presented to the partners.
The Stella Terra will also generate energy via solar panels on the roof. According to Wisse Bos, they do not only provide enough energy to drive, but also to live on. "Really completely off the grid", says an enthusiastic Bos. "The electricity generated by the car is also used for cooking and for charging devices such as a telephone or camera. It should make the user of the Stella Terra completely independent of any infrastructure, in terms of both the road network and charging points."
Brick on wheels
The challenge for the 22 team members of Solar Team Eindhoven (STE) lies in combining robustness and aerodynamics. "It certainly shouldn't be a brick on wheels," warns Bos. "Many people have the image of an off-road car as a somewhat clumsy large car, but we look at it with a new perspective. Our car must be able to cope with the harsh conditions of off-road driving, but also remain efficient and light enough to be powered by the sun."
According to Bos, the plan to participate again in the World Solar Challenge in Australia, which will be held in October this year, was quickly jettisoned. Bos: "Due to corona, the edition could not take place in 2021 and STE then made the world news by building the Stella Vita camper and traveling with it on solar energy to Tarifa in southern Spain."
The current team was again asked by the WSC organization to participate in this year's race. "But," says Bos, "the four editions before in the Cruiser class were won by the teams of STE and with that we had shown what is possible. We want to go a step further with the Stella Terra, because the best way to predict the future is to make it. So, we hope that we can show that to the world in Morocco at the end of July. We will drive there on various terrains, such as in wet areas, through the Atlas Mountains and eventually we will end up in the Sahara. All different conditions, in which the car must be able to perform. Incidentally, it must also be able to drive on the normal road. And all this with the energy that the car itself generates."
According to Bos, the partner companies are also enthusiastic about the new project, which the team will start on next week. Bos: "Our partners are also very curious about the innovations we come up with and how we will tackle certain challenges. If we manage to make that tour in Morocco by car - we still have to figure out if that will be possible - and that expedition is over after about two to three weeks, the idea is to drive the Stella Terra from southern Spain back to Eindhoven and bring the car to the attention on the way back."