Solar car title holders say their new five-seater model marries style and high-speed performance, as Jim Drury reports.
Solar Team Eindhoven is famous for producing sun-powered cars. The Eindhoven University of Technology team won the last two Bridgestone World Solar Challenges in Cruiser Class. In October they'll go for the hat-trick inside Stella Vie - a five-seater designed to show off solar cars' potential commercial future. SOUNDBITE (English) BEATRIX BOS, PUBLIC RELATIONS AND FINANCE MANAGER, SOLAR TEAM EINDHOVEN, SAYING: "In Stella Vie there are two in-wheel motors in the front wheels and they make sure that we can drive 130 kilometres an hour....For the first time we've got a really curved roof and in our former cars we really had a flat roof...The curved roof is as well, much better for the aerodynamics. So it's not only aesthetically better as well technically better." SOUNDBITE (English) DAAN ROORDINK, SOFTWARE ENGINEER - STRATEGY, SOLAR TEAM EINDHOVEN, SAYING: "On a sunny summer day in the Netherlands we can make a range of 650 miles on a very small battery, which is about 12 kilowatt hours. Just for comparison some Tesla models have an 100 kilowatt hour battery." Stella Vie weighs just 375 kilograms. It's 1.65 metres wide and 5 metres long, shorter than previous model Stella Lux. SOUNDBITE (English) BEATRIX BOS, PUBLIC RELATIONS AND FINANCE MANAGER, SOLAR TEAM EINDHOVEN, SAYING: "We have one square metre less solar cells. So even though we have one square metre less and we can't produce as much energy, we still are more efficient, so we still can drive the same range." New features include a parking navigation system that tracks the Sun's position. SOUNDBITE (English) DAAN ROORDINK, SOFTWARE ENGINEER - STRATEGY, SOLAR TEAM EINDHOVEN, SAYING: "It's got a special solar navigation, which not only takes into account the shortest route like a normal navigation system will do, but it also takes into account weather forecasts and calculates the most efficient route." The week-long race sees student teams from across the world travel 3,000 kilometres through the Australian outback.