From The Netherlands to Tarifa in an ‘autonomous solar house on wheels’

by Lorraine Williamson
From The Netherlands to Tarifa

MADRID – The Solar Team of Eindhoven University of Technologyin The Netherlands has designed several super-efficient solar-powered vehicles over the years to participate in the Global Solar Challenges. All that knowledge is now being applied to functional vehicles. 

The new Stella Vita motorhome is such a functional vehicle! And it will start its 3,000-kilometre journey From The Netherlands, across Europe later this month. The final destination for the ‘autonomous solar house on wheels’ is Tarifa, the southernmost city in Spain. The solar-powered motorhome is a curvilinear concept and was built by a team of 22 students. 

Solar panels

Stella Vita solar-powered motorhome

It has 8.8 m2 of solar panels on the roof that collect power for the 60 kWh lithium-ion battery bank. The ultramodern motorhome can reach a speed of up to 120 km/h. The sliding panels can be unfolded for a total surface of 17.5m2 of solar panels when the motorhome is parked. 

Not only that, the vehicle has a pop-up roof so the driver and passenger can comfortably stand and move inside. They can also cook in the kitchen or shower. In addition to a compact kitchen unit, the interior of the Stella Vita has an L-shaped seating area with built-in storage. Furthermore, it contains a small dining table, shelves and cupboards, and a sleeping area.

All of Stella Vita’s power needs, including the electric propulsion system, are expected to be covered by the solar panels alone. Therefore, there should be no need to rely on charging infrastructure along the itinerary. 

Cogesa Expats


In the passenger compartment, the driver can follow energy statistics via the centre display and in the centre console, there is space for a portable Bluetooth speaker. 

 The solar camper, in addition to the driver and passenger doors, has two large opposing doors behind the cabin that opens up the interior space to light and air, while the retractable solar panels can also provide shade when the campers sit outside. 

In bright sunlight, Solar Team Eindhoven claims that the vehicle could travel up to 730 km in one day. And moreover, a range of 600km could be reached at night with a fully charged battery. 

European sun tour 

Therefore, to demonstrate the prototype’s capabilities, team members will go on a European solar tour. Departing from Eindhoven (The Netherlands), the adventurers head south, via Zolder, towards Brussels, Belgium, where a stop is planned. Also, more stops are planned in Paris, Le Mans, Île de Ré, Bordeaux, and Biarritz in France. And in Spain, Zaragoza, Madrid, Toledo and Córdoba. The 3,000 km journey ends on October 15 in Tarifa. 

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