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A completely solar-powered motorhome. Is this your future?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Imagine driving your motorhome across the country. You never stop for fuel. You don’t buy propane, gasoline, or diesel. Your rig doesn’t pollute the atmosphere. For a group of European students from the Netherlands-based Eindhoven University of Technology, they’re not just imagining it, they’re doing it. Is this your future as an RVer – a completely solar-powered motorhome?

“Life Star”

They call it Stella Vita, “Life Star.” Designed by a group that calls itself Solar Team Eindhoven, Stella Vita is putting a whole new spin on the thought of RV self-containment. It’s probably unlike any motorhome you’ve ever seen. The differences start right at the top. When underway, the rig’s roof is a large solar panel field, 94 square feet of panels. But when in camp, the roof pops up, and allows for more panels to extend out, increasing the sun-catching area to 188 square feet.

What can you do with 188 square feet of solar collection surface? The living quarters features electric living. Cooking and entertainment systems are all solar powered. In fact, with their emphasis on earth-friendliness, the designers have built in displays that indicate how much power is going where. That, they hope, will help users to think in energy-conserving terms in their own solar-powered motorhome.

Solar provides the driving force

But that power isn’t just used for creature comforts. The team says those solar panels also provide the drive – a solar-powered motorhome with no need for external fuel. How far can you drive? Solar Team Eindhoven takes off today for a trip through Europe. If their estimates hold true, Stella Vita will quietly motor its way to the southern tip of Spain, running up to 450 miles per day when Sol is good.

Stella Vita is obviously a light vehicle. And it’s a bit lighter on space than the average RVer is used to. The interior space for living is limited to just about six-and-a-half feet. But the space is “livable” for two, say the designers. The diminutive rig still offers a galley, sleeping space (with a bed), sofa, toilet and table.

On a sunny day, the camper will be able to travel up to 453 miles. But it will take two to three days for it to fully recharge, depending on the weather.

We need to know more!

Actual specifications about Stella Vita are a bit hard to come by. We’d love to know the rig’s weight, battery storage capacity, and details on other important matters like fresh water supply, and more on that all-important bathroom information. We’ll work to get more information and fill you in.

Nevertheless, if this clever team can prove up Stella Vista now, imagine what the future might hold for other solar-powered motorhomes.

Photos by Bart van Overbeeke

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Diane Mc
1 month ago

I would hope they have a way to plug in to charge with electric. Like when, weather is bad for days and you need to be somewhere on a specific date; event, wedding, funeral, graduation, etc. Definitely need more info.

DW/ND
1 month ago

It is often said “you could fly a brick, if you had enough wind!” I wonder how much of a wind gust it would it take to fly this? Looks aerodynamic enuf and appears lite enuf too. Hmmmm…. (think ocean sea breeze).

Bob
1 month ago

Many of you are ignoring the part where it will take 2or 3 days to fully recharge after the 453 miles. Again someone is dreaming.

Al H.
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

IMHO, anyone who thinks solar and wind are going to replace fossil fuels is dreaming, or hasn’t done the math.

Kelly R
1 month ago
Reply to  Al H.

Yep, and with hard work, dreams do come true. It took me a while, but I’m living my dream.

Kelly R
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob

BUT ya gotta start somewhere. The cars we drive today started with a one cylinder engine that the Equine’ers of the day said would never work, and certainly would never be able to haul a load. The Wright Brothers were wrong too with their bicycle thing with wings.

Wayne
1 month ago

Call me when it will make to the summit of the Rogers Pass on a rainy day.

Silas Longshot
1 month ago

Obviously intended at this stage to be an ‘urban’ RV. I get the low ground clearance for air flow efficiency, but that is going to get grounded out in hundreds of typical driveways, intersections, etc. Forget about boondocking until they have a design that can actually get out into the boonies.

Kelly R
1 month ago
Reply to  Silas Longshot

It may be no different than portaging a canoe, … pick it up and carry it over the rocks. Now THAT is camping.

Richard Hughes
1 month ago

Looks great, but I bet the diesel pusher, my rig is bigger, club will pass.

Kelly R
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Hughes

BUT you may run out of diesel and he still has sun. ?

david
1 month ago

I love Stella Vita, it will be the future. 400+ miles in a day is more than enough.

Ps Doff
1 month ago
Reply to  david

It’s not 400 miles per day, it’s about 1000 miles max over a mixed weather week.
It could be enough for leisurely hop and stay trip, but for overnight stays on a one week trip from US coast to coast, grid charging would be needed.
Places that are overcast or rainy would be an issue, as would travel ated over terrain that demand the vehicle use more power to traverse and more power to heat or cool the occupants.
The biggest limitation would be when used as a vehicle. this would be have the disadvantages of a motorcycle with a large cross sectional area shaped like a wing.
High speed would reduce traction, cross winds would make lane keeping a challenge.
imo This is an interesting prototype for very small specialty niche.
If camping is the objective, an ultralight trailer housing folding solar panels and tent camping gear that could be rented and used with a BEV or PHEV would be a better 3 season solution than a dedicated vehicle.

Susan Banks
1 month ago

I love it, great for 1 or two. Wish inside had closeup photos. Please let us know how the trip goes.

littleleftie
1 month ago

I like the look of it! And it would fill my needs. Now, the big question—-what will it cost?