Solar motorhome concept
Yes, we know that this prototype solar motorhome has insufficient ground clearance for Aussie conditions, but its essence is worth investigating, we reckon.
Stella Vita (star of life) is a self-sustaining EV house on wheels (SHOW) that was designed and built by 22 students at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.
The students pointed out that in a single hour, the amount of power from the sun that strikes the Earth is more than the entire world consumes in a year. Sella Vita has just driven almost 2000 kilometers around Europe, without stopping for fuel or plugging in to charge.
The SHOW campervan has solar panels fitted to its roof and awnings, and is powered by the energy of the sun alone. Panel area is 17.5 square metres with the panels unfolded and 8.8 square metres when driving.
Driving range, with a full charge from the 60kWh lithium-ion battery pack is said to be 730km in sunny conditions and 600km when cloudy.
Stella Vita is equipped with living essentials, including a double bed, sofa, kitchen area and bathroom, with a shower, sink and toilet. It can accommodate two people, who can drive, cook breakfast and watch television using just the vehicle’s solar-charged battery, according to its creators.
SHOW was designed and built to be super-efficient and to generate more energy than it consumes while driving. A key to that is good aerodynamics that reduce drag and provide for better efficiency.
The ideal shape for least air resistance is a droplet: a rounded front end with a streamlined roof and a rear end with as little surface area as possible. The droplet shape is clearly visible in the design of Stella Vita.
Transporting mass takes a lot of energy, which is why SHOW is as light as possible, tipping the scales at 1700kg. Everything is designed with weight-saving in mind, including an aluminium frame and composite aluminium-foam body shell. All parts in SHOW have been optimised to be strong enough, but also light.
To avoid wasting energy, it is important to have a good understanding of energy consumption and the infotainment system indicates how much energy the appliances consume and what can be done with the remaining amount of energy. The owners can decide whether to spend the energy bank on camp life or on driving.
In order to provide the necessary space for sleeping, cooking and eating, the vehicle has a lifting roof. The lifting roof is folded down when the vehicle is driving to reduce drag. However, when stationary and charging the complete roof is raised and additional solar panels slide out from the sides and double was awnings.
The large windows give the feeling of being outdoors and the colours in the interior are chosen to match natural colours. The living space is arranged in such a way that you can cook from both inside and outside. Because of the light furniture, it is easy to move it outside, making the transition from indoor to outdoor living easy.