Stella Terra has solar panels on the roof and is allowed to drive on public roads. The car has a limited top speed of 145 kilometers an hour, weighs 1,200 kilograms and can cover a distance of 630 kilometers on a sunny day.
To the best of the team’s knowledge, this creation is the first off-road car to power itself. The challenge in building it was in the delicate balance between ensuring the car is heavy enough to handle off-road conditions but also light enough to still be powered by the sun. As a result, the team designed almost everything for the car themselves.
It was decided to test in Morocco because the country offers a much greater variety of landscapes than the Netherlands. The recent earthquake there has shocked the team too. Bosman: “It turns out that our route does not go through the affected area around Marrakesh, but we did want to do something to help the population. That’s why we started an action together with the Red Cross.”
Today the car is being presented to the press at the Werkspoor cathedral in Utrecht. The members of the Solar Team Eindhoven (STE), who have been busy preparing since six in the morning, are very much looking forward to it, says Events and PR manager Thieme Bosman. “We have been working towards this for a whole year and this presentation will be very gratifying. We built the Stella Terra to show to a broad audience what you can do with solar power.” By the way, it is a misconception that the car can only drive when there is a lot of sun. “It can drive just fine with some light cloud cover. In fact, if there’s too much sun, it can backfire: the car might overheat.” Should they have unexpectedly prolonged bad weather, the members have also thought of solutions for just that. “We also have extra panels that you can attach when you’re standing still to catch more sunlight and get back moving faster.” The editor wants to know if there is a backup in the form of a charging cord connection point. Bosman: “Yes, we do have that option, but it’s really more of a last resort. We rely on the sun and have done the math.”
STE builds an innovative, efficient solar-powered car every two years. The team has previously claimed the title of world champion four times in a row at the renowned World Solar Challenge in Australia, in the family car class (Cruiser class). In 2021, the team made global headlines by building a solar-powered camper, Stella Vita, and driving it to the southernmost point of Europe.