Stella Terra drove 1,000 km across Morocco powered only by the sun

The world’s first off-road solar car, Stella Terra, has completed a 1,000-kilometre test drive from northern Morocco to the Sahara using power drawn from the sun.

In Morocco, the solar car traveled through dry riverbeds, forest area, along steep mountain trails and through the loose desert sand.

“It was an incredible trip with a positive ending. Stella Terra’s efficiency was hard to predict. That’s why we weren’t sure if we would make it on solar power. During the ride, Stella Terra turned out to use 30 percent less energy than expected. We were able to drive the entire trip on the sun’s energy and did not depend on charging stations,” explains team manager Wisse Bos.

The solar energy for Stella Terra is collected by solar panels on the roof. With these solar panels and its robust construction, Stella Terra achieves complete independence in a sustainable manner, anywhere in the world.

The road-legal Stella Terra has a top speed of 145 kilometers (90 miles) per hour. On a sunny day, its battery range is around 710 kilometers (441 miles) on roads, and around 550 kilometers (342 miles) off-road, depending on the surface.

Building a self-sustaining off-road vehicle presents new challenges, as far as known, it is the first of its kind worldwide. “Stella Terra must withstand the harsh conditions of off-roading while remaining efficient and light enough to be powered by the sun. That is why we had to design almost everything for Stella Terra ourselves, from the suspension to the inverters for the solar panels”, says teammanager Bos.

Mobility expert and TU/e professor Maarten Steinbuch is impressed with the team. “It is already difficult in normal conditions to build an energy-efficient car that can handle rough conditions, let alone to integrate solar panels into the car as well. I haven’t seen anyone do that yet. I expect that in five to ten years electric cars will be part of our entire energy grid system. And when the home battery makes its appearance, it will even be possible to generate energy via a solar car and deliver it back to your home. Solar Team Eindhoven’s innovations could change the future.”

[The photos of STE in Morocco were taken by Bart van Overbeeke and Rien Boonstoppel]



Blagojce Krivevski

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