A Power Plant on Wheels
You’re on a remote stretch of highway, and time is running out.
Powerful headwinds batter your solar car as you wrestle the steering wheel. The afternoon glare is blinding. Battery power is dwindling. And your destination is still 120 kilometers away.
You swallow hard. You have to make it there – you must. Not just for yourself, but for your teammates. Your instructors. Your family.
And for the future of mobility.
The Stella Era averaged more than 85 kph across the searing Australian desert.
Rising to the Challenge
Every two years, college students from 24 countries around the world take part in a solar car competition that’s as grueling as it is prestigious: the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Each solar vehicle is designed, engineered, and built by hand to be driven 3,000 kilometers across some of the world’s most challenging terrain – powered primarily by the sun1Teams were allowed to recharge two times during the challenge. However, Stella Era generated approximately 46kWh of solar energy during the race.
In October 2019, a record 53 solar car teams took part, each a group of bright minds with a common purpose: to accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.
This marked the 15th journey from the Top End to Adelaide, with an impressive victory in the Cruiser Class by engineering students from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Solar Team Eindhoven has taken first prize four times in a row – making them the sole winner of the Cruiser Class since it was founded in 2013. And SunPower solar technology has proudly powered every kilometer along the way.
A jubilant Solal Team Eindhoven celebrates their fourth Cruiser Cup championship.
Cruising on Clean Energy
Since 2013, Solar Team Eindhoven has continued to unlock the potential of solar by creating cars that are ‘energy positive,’ meaning the battery recharges while driving. Their 2019 four-person solar vehicle, Stella Era, advanced this clean energy legacy by integrating several new innovations – each one a first in the history of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
Stella Era’s incredible energy production begins at the source: SunPower Maxeon solar cells. Team Solar Eindhoven turns to SunPower technology year after year because they know that our Maxeon cells deliver 30% more energy over 25 years in the same space as Conventional solar2SunPower 400 W, 22.6% efficient, compared to a Conventional Panel on same-sized arrays (310 W mono PERC, 19% efficient, approx. 1.64 m²).. And they aren’t the only ones; homes and businesses around the world choose the very same Maxeon technology for unmatched solar efficiency3Based on datasheet review of websites of top 20 manufacturers per IHS, as of May, 2019..
A Car That Follows the Sun
One of Stella Era’s more impressive features is “autonomous relocation.” By detecting the intensity of the sun in a parking lot, the car is able to re-park itself in the spot with the most sunlight. This intelligent parking capability is based on the weather forecast, upcoming events stored in your calendar, and personal preferences.
It’s a brilliant concept: a car that follows the sun. And even when bright sunlight is elusive, the high sensitivity of SunPower technology continues to maximize power production. SunPower Maxeon solar cells are engineered to be highly receptive to the blue light of early morning and cloudy conditions, as well as the red light of evening. By producing power earlier and staying on longer, SunPower technology gives Stella Era – and homeowners everywhere – an extra advantage.
A rare opportunity to pause and reflect on the power of the sun to transform lives.