A team of Dutch university students has radically redesigned the RV with solar power and an aerodynamic shape.
As detailed recently on “Fully Charged Show,” the Stella Vita is an electric RV with fold-out solar panels designed by Solar Team Eindhoven, a team of engineering students at the Eindhoven University of Technology.
In 2021, the team took its creation on a 1,864-mile road trip across Europe, from Eindhoven to Tarifa, Spain. The RV only needed two charging stops en route. A 74.5-mph top speed meant the Stella Vita could at least keep up with traffic.
Stela Vita electric RV on Fully Charged Show
The Stella Vita has a 60-kwh lithium-ion battery pack, which gets some charge from the roof-mounted solar panels. They can generate 2 kw when folded or 4 kw when unfolded, according to Solar Team Eindhoven. Normal range is estimated at 372 miles, but that can be extended to 453 miles on a sunny day, the team claims.
With its solar panels and pop-up roof folded, the Stella Vita measures 23.6 feet long, 6.7 feet wide, and 6.0 feet tall. It has an aluminum chassis and fiberglass body with an aluminum/foam core, which helps keep weight down to 3,747 pounds.
The Stella Vita serves as a proof of concept, but at least one past solar-vehicle project has morphed into a vehicle with production ambitions.
The Lightyear One solar car also started with student team members and has become a real product, to be assembled by Finland’s Valmet. It’s aiming to “leapfrog the grid” with solar taking the load off charging needs. That’s also where the Sono Sion solar-supplemented EV will be built.
Both are cars; a production RV like the Stella Vita might face additional hurdles. As we just underscored—backed up by recent poll results—electric RVs face some serious barriers based on range and charging expectations.
That’s if electric RVs follow current, conservative form factors. What would help bridge the gap between traditional RVs and the more imaginative Stella Vita? Maybe an electric Volkswagen ID camper van?