Solar-powered cars may not be far off as we thought.
A team from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands has built a four-seat, solar-powered car. The team claims it creates more energy over the course of a year than it uses to drive.
The car, called the Stella Lux, is the newest version of the solar-powered car it created in 2013, called the Stella. The next-generation model is built of mostly carbon fibre and aluminium and weighs only 826 pounds.
The Stella Lux features solar panels on the roof with a redesigned body with an air tunnel through the middle of the car, which helps reduce the amount of energy needed to move forward.
There’s also a tube that runs from the front to back that holds the battery cells.
With a full charge, the car has a range of 683.5 miles in sunny places and 621 miles in not-so-sunny places, even while carrying four people.
Stella Lux is also a smart car that is connected to the Internet and uses a custom-built navigation system called the Solar Navigator that enables the driver to select the most energy efficient route or the quickest route.
The Stella Lux team will be able to recharge their car only once during the duration of the race, meaning they must first travel at least 932 miles using solar power and their fully-charged battery pack.
While the race sounds daunting, it’s not team’s first time taking on the challenge. In 2013, the student team won the competition with Stella and aims to take the top spot again with it’s latest Stella Lux.