Engineering 101

Smart Solar-Powered Family Car Generates More Energy Than It Burns

This is not your traditional, family-geared SUV.

Solar Team Eindhoven, a group of 20 students from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands has created a fully functional, futuristic-looking family car that is good for the environment.

The Stella Lux is an energy positive, solar-powered vehicle that actually generates more energy than it consumes in an entire year.

Stella’s aerodynamic design includes features like a tunnel right through the center and an extended roof on both sides of the car, which makes its supreme energy efficiency possible. It was also created using lightweight materials like carbon fiber and aluminum.

The team included an energy management system called the  Solar Navigator which collects weather data and then provides suggestions for the best route.

The vehicle can work with your smartphone’s data, too, keeping you up-to-date on calendars and to-do’s throughout the day. because of this Stella Lux is up to date about your appointments during the day.

By combining the flexible screen layout of a tablet and haptic buttons, we developed Layr. By scrolling the tangible bar over the screen applications are maximized or minimized. Three gaps in the bar direction your fingers to the right spot, so you won’t have to look at the touchscreen to operate it. Because of this Layr increases safety.

According to the team, the Stella Lux can also communicate with other cars on the road in helpful ways like turning down the radio if an ambulance is coming.

Solar Team Eindhoven will bring the Stella Lux to participate in the 2015 World Solar Challenge in Australia where teams from around the world bring their solar cars to compete in an 1,864-mile challenge through the desert. The vehicle will not be judged on speed alone, the team will need to present the car’s practicality including external energy requirements, vehicle load capabilities, navigation, and safety.

Most of the energy needed will be collected by Stella’s solar panels. The team will be able to recharge only once, so the car must be able to drive half the distance on a fully charged battery.

Solar Team Eindhoven wants to create the “car of the future” and is working on the Stella Lux to achieve this goal.

 

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