Solar powered cars
The first four-seater, solar-powered vehicle hits the U.S. road (techcrunch.com, 2014). The car is a prototype but can this be next mass market technology in car industry? The car is called Stella and it was built at Eindhoven University of Technology in Holland. The goal was to build a solar powered family car capable to transport four persons and some luggage in a comfortable way.
- It travels 800km on a single charge at speeds of 130km/h (the distance is increasing if the sun is shining)
- It weighs 390kg and is 4.6 meters long and 1.2 meters tall
- Body is made on carbon fiber
- Stella can communicate with other cars which mean it relayed traffic information to a Tesla Model S nearby and traffic lights as well. There is a tablet screen in the car that tells the driver how long until a light up ahead turns red or green
- Stella has solar seats on its roof which supply power to the car’s lithium ion battery. Solar panels cost about €3500 to produce
So my question is can this solar-powered car be the next big thing in the car industry or is this only a “nice” prototype or student project? In my opinion this can be one solution for car industry. Of course there are always doubts when “new” technology arrives and tries to break in to the market but I see this can be one solution for the car industry even though this car doesn´t work in countries where isn´t enough sun. Builders of the Stella said that it is possible to make these cars and have them in a showroom in five to 10 year but big auto-makers think that Stella is too far-fetched. The technology of the Stella is not new and mass-produced solar cars could be affordable according to project`s team member.