On a sunny day in Morocco, a small, oddly shaped green car makes its way through the country's dense forests, mountain trails and desert sands, powered only by the sun shining overhead.
The 1,000-kilometer test drive of the "Stella Terra" - the world's first off-road solar car, according to its creators - was carried out by students from the Eindhoven University of Technology to demonstrate the potential of sustainable transport.
"We tested Stella Terra intensively. We started in the north of Morocco and traveled over a thousand kilometers through different landscapes to finish our journey in the Sahara - all powered by the sun," explains Britt van Hulst, the team's project finance manager.
The car is designed for difficult terrains and is capable of traveling over 630 km in one day if the sun is shining, and its mileage is around 550 km depending on the terrain, reports Euronews. The two-seater Stella Terra uses solar energy through its roof panels, meaning it doesn't need charging stations or fuel.
The team completed their solar trip on Sunday, October 15, with the Stella Terra performing above expectations with only a few minor fixes along the way, such as replacing a broken steering rod.
However, the team behind the car insists that the vehicle exceeded expectations, ultimately using 30% less energy than expected.
The custom-made converter for the solar panels was more efficient at converting sunlight absorbed by the solar cells into an electrical charge than they had hoped.
"Under normal conditions, it is already difficult to create an energy-efficient car that can handle harsh conditions, let alone integrate solar panels into the car, I have yet to see anyone do it," says Maarten Steinbuch, mobility expert and professor at Eindhoven University of Technology. "I expect that in five to ten years, electric cars will be part of our entire energy system. And when home batteries come along, it will even be possible to produce energy through a solar car and deliver it back to your home. Solar Team Innovations Eindhoven can change the future," he added. /BGNES