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Dutch students build solar power motorhome

Is it a car? Is it a house? Technically this sustainable motorhome is both. Running on solar power, Dutch students created the vehicle to promote cleaner travel and demonstrate the potential of green living.

A group of Dutch students from the Technical University of Eindhoven have built a new solar-powered motorhome that allow for up to 460 miles of travel on a sunny day.

It’s hoped that the vehicle will push for quicker climate action and get us switching to electric cars sooner. Currently, the UK government has vowed to stop selling petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and says it will increase charging sites by ten-fold.

But what if you didn’t need to rely on charging ports?

The new motorhome is called Stella Vita and is billed as the first entirely self-sufficient camping car. Solar panels on its roof can be extended outwards once parked and the interior includes all the necessities you’d expect, such as a kitchen, shower, bed, toilet, and even a sofa.

It has a top speed of 120kmh and toured Europe last year, travelling from Eindhoven through Brussels, Paris, Bordeaux, Madrid, and finally Tarifa.

Solar Team Eindhoven – the brainboxes who built Stella Vita – consists of 22 students who worked for 18 months to bring this invention to life, finishing in 2021. They operated independently from the university itself but have previously won awards for similar solar-based work.

For safety, the motorhome comes packed in with a charging port just in case the sun refuses to come out. It provides real-time data on energy consumption too, which means drivers can make informed decisions on how they use electricity without draining the battery in the middle of a motorway.

Stella Vita is a little longer than your average car, measuring a full 7.2 metres, and does not include power steering or assisted braking. You’ll need to be an expert behind the wheel in tight spaces or winding roads, so this may not be the most ideal purchase if you’re fresh off your driving test.

Still, it’s an impressive, futuristic invention that shows the potential of electric vehicles if our policy makers and investors begin to fully back cleaner cars. We’ve the technology and the knowledge, now it’s just about drive to make things happen. Pardon the pun.

We’ll need to make the switch sooner or later. It’s just a question of when.