You may remember Stella from Jo’s coverage of the solar-powered electric “family car” in 2013. It actually won first prize in the World Solar Challenge in the “Cruiser” class. But the Eindhoven University of Technology team behind the vehicle have apparently decided that wasn’t enough and have gone and jacked up the beast (what else are kids to do?).
The Stella (named “Stella Lux” after the plastic surgery) can seat four people, generates more electricity than it uses, has a range of up to 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) when its 15-kWh battery is fully charged (enough range for you?), is decked out with 381 high-efficiency solar cells, and can reach a top speed of 125 km/h (77.6 mph).
And, yes, that excess electricity Stella Lux creates can be sent back into the electric grid.
Stella Lux will again be competing in the World Solar Challenge solar-powered car race in Australia in the Cruiser class (which requires that the car seat at least 4 people and have a trunk). The race across the Australian Outback covers 3,000 km (1,864 miles), going from Darwin to Adelaide.
You may think this is all just fun and games, but the Eindhoven University of Technology crew is reportedly aiming to commercialize the vehicle within 5–10 years. I’m curious to see if they actually get to that point, and if so, what kind of price they are talking about.
Solar technology and electric car technology are both advancing very fast, so Stella 2020 could be considerably bigger (Stella is tiny) and more comfortable in 2020 for the same cost without sacrificing range or performance (theoretically). Of course, we don’t know right now what it cost the Eindhoven University of Technology crew to create Stella or Stella Lux, and what kind of selling price they’re targeting. We’ll see… hopefully.