There is no way to stop the world’s progress towards cleaner ways of traveling. In recent history, we’ve seen the evolution of hybrid, all-electric, fuel cell, and now solar-powered vehicles. Although slow, the transition is happening before our eyes.
The Stella Vita solar powered motorhome is the latest innovation in the SEV market, with the added functionality of self-sufficient living. In terms of what electric vehicles can do, this house on wheels sets the bar high. Let’s explore why Stella Vita is innovation personified.
What is Stella Vita?
The amount of sunlight that falls on Earth in a given hour exceeds that used by the entire planet in a full year. With that in mind, getting from point A to point B simply becomes a matter of energy capture rather than energy storage when we use the abundant energy from the sun.
To have a sustainable future in mobility, vehicles must be the focal point. Using the endless supply of energy from the sun gives you the freedom to travel anywhere you want without worrying about where to charge your vehicle. This is why solar electric vehicles (SEVs), like Aptera, are so innovative.
A group of 22 students from the Eindhoven University of Technology had this in mind. His intention was to push the limits of solar mobility more than anyone before. The members of Solar Team Eindhoven achieved this by creating a vehicle that could make the most of the sun’s energy and apply it to both travel and off-grid living.
It was this thought process that led to the creation of Stella Vita. The Stella Vita, Vita, which means “live”, is a self-sufficient motorhome concept that runs on solar energy.
Starting from scratch and with funding from sponsors, the team was able to think outside the box and expand on the ideas that make this vehicle truly unique. Everything from its unique appearance and retractable solar panels on its roof help Stella vita to be as efficient as possible.
The solar electric vehicle fully embraces its identity of self-sufficient habitability. It has a fully functional shower, a kitchen with a coffee maker and a bed. All are made from lightweight materials to keep the weight of vehicles low and increase efficiency on the road.
According to the Eindhoven Solar Team website, its goal is to reduce global CO2 emissions and help achieve the energy transition by replacing fossil fuels with sustainable energy sources. By creating an innovative and energy-efficient solar vehicle that delivers reliable performance, their goal is to inspire today’s marketplace and society to accelerate progress toward a sustainable future.
In addition, SEVs ensure that additional vehicles do not add load to the national electrical grid. SEVs avoid the question, “is the grid capable of handling more EVs?” since you don’t have to charge them through a power outlet.
Stella Vita Specifications and Features
With enough space for two, the Stella Vita has everything you need for off-the-grid living without compromising comfort. By harnessing the energy of the sun, this “house on wheels” can absorb enough energy to run all the equipment on board. Long drives and habitability are its only purposes, and it does it very well.
In terms of features, the Stella Vita is quite impressive. To add space to the living room, there is a pop-up roof. According to its website, the roof is lowered when driving to minimize drag and is easily raised when parked.
Stella Vita measures 23.6 feet long and nearly 7 feet wide in folded travel mode. When the SEV is parked and deployed, it expands to 14.4 feet wide. Due to its cool pop-up roof, the interior height extends from 6 feet folded to 8.3 feet unfolded.
The collapsible solar panels used by Stella Vita measure 28.8 feet when retracted and 57.4 feet when fully extended. When the roof panels are fully open, the outdoor living space is also increased. Plus, it provides much-needed shade from the sun.
There is also a roll cage in the cab for added safety. Its layout allows for both indoor and outdoor cooking, and you can easily move furniture from inside the van to the outside area to enhance the outdoor living experience. Instead of the usual large rear-view mirrors, the spacious cabin uses two well-placed side cameras, while the driver’s controls are simple and practical.
The center stack has a removable infotainment touchscreen system that provides relevant performance details, including:
- How much solar energy are you receiving?
- Energy Usage Information
- management area
- Driving feedback to aid in energy efficiency
The screen can also be used for watching movies and is connected to a speaker tube that fits into its own compartment. Power consumption is fully customizable, allowing users to direct power usage where it is needed. The amount of power available and what to do with it can also be easily adjusted via the infotainment system.
Stella Vita technology
The Stella Vita is packed with technology, and these key design elements add to its quirky yet modern appearance. It all starts with their innovative rooftop expandable solar panels. While parked, the roof is raised so that additional panels can be slid in for maximum load.
Its drop shape improves aerodynamics and is a vital feature of the vehicle. Despite its rugged appearance, it is lightweight, making it incredibly energy efficient. This is thanks to its fiberglass aeroshell and aluminum frame. According to its website, all these elements help the Stella Vita to generate more energy than it consumes on the road.
range and load
Powered by a 60 kWh lithium-ion battery, the Stella Vita takes two to three days to recharge while parked with the top fully extended. Although its range indicates only 453 miles on a single charge, this SEV motorhome can cover more than 1,000 miles on 100% solar power.
The team wanted to show the world what the Stella Vita could do, so they planned a road trip across Europe. It was a difficult start due to bad weather, but the group finished strong. The journey began in Eindhoven and ended in the southern tip of Spain, in Tarifa, a road trip of 1,860 miles.
Stella Vita: the future of long road trips
With the Stella Vita motorhome, the creators have proven that the concept works. Now that all the groundwork has been laid, they hope that a major auto company will take notice of their innovation and start mass production.
However, unless the transition to EV and SEV is accelerated significantly, it may be some time before you see more of these unique mobile homes cruising down the road in search of adventure.