34The world’s first off-road solar SUV, “Stella Terra,” built by a team of students at Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE), was recently driven across Morocco exclusively using solar energy.
According to Thieme Bosman, the team’s events manager, the vehicle might help transport emergency supplies and connect rural locations where roads are less developed and electrical grids are less dependable.
The crew tested the vehicle earlier this month in Morocco, traveling more than 1.000 kilometers (621 miles) between the northern coast of the nation and the Sahara Desert in the south, according to CNN.
“Morocco has a huge variety of landscapes and different surfaces in quite a short distance,” says Bosman, explaining that the car was tested “on every type of surface that a car like this could encounter.”
The new vehicle can go at a top speed of 145 kilometers per hour (90 mph). On a sunny day, its battery range is around 710 kilometers (441 miles) on roads and, depending on the surface, approximately 550 kilometers (342 miles) off roads.
The team estimated that its range could be 50 kilometers less under overcast conditions.
Bosman underlined that the vehicle had performed up to a third more efficiently than anticipated throughout the journey and that its lightweight construction reduced the likelihood that it would become stuck in difficult terrain and relieved pressure on its suspension.
The SUV’s prototype was unveiled in September, and the testing of the vehicle on various off-road surfaces took place in Morocco.
The team left Tangier and traveled across the harsh Rif mountain region, where Stella Terra was put to the test in its first off-road challenge by the steep ascents and descents.
After testing the vehicle on the mountain routes of Midelt, one of Morocco’s highest towns, the team continued south through Fes and finished their journey in the Sahara Desert, driving Stella Terra on looser, sandier terrain.