A unique solar-powered car, known as the Stella Terra, recently completed a 620-mile (1,000 km) test drive across Morocco. This makes the Stella Terra the first off-road solar car in history to travel long distances.

Developed by students at Eindhoven University of Technology, this two-seat vehicle endured challenging terrains as part of its final assessment. In the process, the car demonstrated the durability of its lightweight structure and aerodynamic design.

Equipped with several solar panels on its roof, the Stella Terra relies solely on solar energy and boasts a remarkable top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h). Weighing just 1,200 kg (1.2 tons), it can travel a distance of at least 440 miles (710 km) on a sunny day.

The group of Eindhoven students who made the Stella Terra is called Solar Team Eindhoven. Solar Team Eindhoven is a non-profit group that relied on sponsors for funding.

Wisse Bos, the team manager of Solar Team Eindhoven, explained that the technology employed in the car is a decade ahead of what is currently available in the market. The combination of a lightweight frame and highly efficient solar panels enables this vehicle to brave rugged off-road conditions while remaining powered by the sun.

The Stella Terra is equipped with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This battery allows the car to operate in less sunny environments, although over shorter distances.

And when the sun is out, the solar panels on the vehicle generate so much energy that they can even charge cameras and smartphones.

Here’s a video showing the off-road solar car in action.

A group of 22 students, aged 21 to 25, took a break from their studies to bring the project to life. They embarked on a week-and-a-half-long experiment in north Africa, driving an olive-green car. Although the students encountered a steering system failure, they promptly resolved this issue.

The lightweight and off-road capable Stella Terra provided great comfort in various conditions. The custom-made solar panel converter achieved an impressive 97% efficiency in converting sunlight into electrical charge. This surpassed initial expectations.

Britt van Hulst, Solar Team Eindhoven’s finance manager, noted that further development is necessary before the design can be marketed.

Designers face challenges in building solar-powered cars due to the limited surface area for solar panels. Efficient panels that generate enough energy for long-distance travel are costly.

Nonetheless, the Stella Terra presents an opportunity for major automobile manufacturers to explore.

The high manufacturing cost hindered previous attempts by Atlas Technologies to make solar cars. This resulted in Atlas’s bankruptcy.

However, Atlas has now returned with a new, more affordable model that offers a range of about 500 miles per charge. According to The Guardian, customers can buy an Atlas solar car for about $40,000.

Image Source: Mobility Prof, https://shorturl.at/bEV19