Solar power, while streaming free daily from our sun, is notoriously difficult to turn into practical vehicular transportation. Sure, you can cross Australia in a solar car, if you're willing to work hard, but direct solar-powered transportation (i.e., not solar charging à la a Tesla Supercharger or Peder Norby) with passengers remains difficult. But that's just the hurdle that the Solar Team Eindhoven (STE) from the Netherlands is trying to jump.

STE will enter its new Stella solar car in that Australia-crossing World Solar Challenge, in the new Cruiser Class. Unlike many of the ultralightweight vehicles in the Challenge, Stella is designed to seat four people, making it the first solar-powered family car we can think of. The NLV/Koenigsegg Quant concept, for example, another four-seat solar EV, only used its solar panels to power accessories.

That said, Stella can't move totally on the power of the sun, despite its impressive aerodynamic style. STE says the car is covered with "high-yield silicum solar panels that will generate almost half the required energy" needed for the 3,000-kilometer (1,864-mile) Challenge. In the Cruiser Class, teams need to not only be able to transport more than a single rider but also collect as much energy as possible from the sun, since "there are only three opportunities to recharge the relatively small battery, which means the car has to be able to independently drive a minimum of 750 kilometers [466 miles] on electric energy." Stella apparently has a range of 600 kilometers [372 miles], so it'll need the sun to shine to make it home. See the car being unveiled in the video below.


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