Victory for world’s first solar-powered family car Stella: the NXP sponsored car won gold in the inaugural Cruiser Class of the World Solar Challenge 2013! Designed and driven by Solar Team Eindhoven, students of the Dutch Eindhoven University of Technology, Stella started off on Sunday October 6 in Darwin. After a thrilling race of six days across the Australian ‘outback’, they reached the finish line in Adelaide on Friday October 11. A practicality test on Saturday co-determined the final scoring: number 1!
Main competitor Hochschule Bochum won silver with the PowerCore SunCruiser and Australian UNSW Solar Racing Team became third, despite of their Sunswift finishing first in Adelaide. In the Challenger Class, students of Delft University of Technology won gold with Nuna7, students of Tokai University became second and students of University Twente won bronze.
A combination of time, recharging from the mains, the number of passengers and the final jury verdict on Saturday, determined that Solar Team Eindhoven is World Champion in solar-powered family cars. Event Director Chris Selwood said that after more than 3,000 km it was perhaps fitting, in a category that was intended to bridge the gap between high-end technology and driving practicality, that the results would come down to practical design and the ability to appeal to everyday drivers.
Stella completed the race on 11 October at 13:00 hours, after a 3,000 kilometers (1864 miles) journey with an average of three people on board. The average speed during the challenge was 67 km/h (41.6 mph). Top speeds of 120 km/h (75 mph) with a full load of four people were no exception. In the ‘practicality’ test, the solar car was judged on aspects such as comfort, features, styling and aesthetics, but also parallel parking and cargo space (how many suitcases fit in the trunk). Being the only car with a license plate, Stella’s road registration contributed to the final score.
Stella has proved to the world what the car of the future looks like. The four-seater is street legal in Europe, made from readily accessible materials and components and suitable for serial production. The design team expects mass production could occur within five to ten years.
After the festivities in Adelaide, the Solar Team Eindhoven members have a busy schedule ahead of them. Today NXP’s partner Cohda organized a media event to demonstrate the working of Stella’s built-in car-to-car technology. After that the team will visit the Dutch ambassador in Canberra. On October 25, Stella will be shipped to Singapore, where it will be in the spotlights for a whole week.
Photography: Bart van Overbeeke