Using the sun's rays to actually power a useable production car rather than just some accessories is still science fiction. A group of Dutch college students are getting about as close as possible to making that future a reality right now, though. The Solar Team Eindhoven from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands won the Cruiser class in the 2013 World Solar Challenge with a vehicle called Stella. Now, the group has unveiled the new Stella Lux to challenge the 2015 edition of the biennial event, and it looks even better than before.

The Stella Lux is capable of seating four people inside and looks far more like a normal vehicle than the long plane of cells and bubble canopy of many solar challenge cars. The student-built machine is still incredibly efficient and capable of generating more energy than it consumes at times. In Dutch weather, the sun and onboard battery allow for a 621-mile range with a top speed of 78 miles per hour.

However, Solar Team Eindhoven still has a big test ahead in the 2015 World Solar Challenge and has a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for it. The event runs 1,864 miles mostly through the Australian desert from Darwin to Adelaide starting on October 18. The Cruiser class emphasizes practicality, efficiency and the number of people being transported but only allows for one battery charge over the distance. Teams can run from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and must travel through seven checkpoints.

The brief video below shows off the Stella Lux's unveiling. The audio is in Dutch, but the clip displays the vehicle actually moving under its own power.

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