Despite our predilection for creature comforts like electricity, it can be nice to get away from it all from time-to-time. Students from developed Stella Vita to let you glamp from the power of the sun alone.
Solar-powered vehicles have been plying the highways for decades, but we’re only now getting vehicles with multiple seats that could potentially be used for transport outside of protected race conditions. While production vehicles that can charge off the sun are yet to appear in any appreciable numbers, universities are continuing to push the envelope of what’s possible in a solar car.
Stella Vita is a whale shark-esque camper van designed to be as aerodynamic as possible while still housing all the accoutrements one would want when car camping including a large bed, inductive cooktop, fridge, shower, sink, toilet, and standing room via a pop top. The 2 kW solar array expands to 4 kW when parked via two wings extending from the pop top that also function as awnings for your base camp. By keeping the car lightweight (1,700 kg or 3,700 lb) and aerodynamic, it can go about 600 km (370 mi) on a single charge with its 60 kWh battery.
While it’s still experimental, the team took Stella Vita on a road trip of 3,000 km (1,900 mi) to the south of Spain and were able to get there with only a couple charging stops to account for technical difficulties. A full charge on solar alone takes 2-3 days, which we can see being a convenient amount of time to stop in one spot for your outdoor adventures before heading home or to your next destination.