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July 02, 2015

VanBerlo brings new energy to the family car of the future


Design agency VanBerlo was called on by Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) students to develop the car seats for a new solar-powered family car, the Stella Lux, which will make its debut on July 2. This fall Solar Team Eindhoven and Stella Lux will participate in the World Solar Challenge 2015, to defend their world title.

Ergonomic meets comfort
Stella Lux will compete in the 'Cruiser' class of the World Solar Challenge race. In this class, timing and technology will be assessed next to comfort and interior design. In 2014, TU/e students successfully raced their first solar-powered family car, dubbed Stella, and later on even won the Crunchies – the Oscars of the technology world – where they defeated industry giant Apple. The TU/e students asked VanBerlo to develop ergonomic, point-scoring car seats for the new solar-powered family car!

Design process
To consume as little energy as possible and cross the finish line in good time, the Stella Lux family car has to be light. Senior Engineer Frank van der Blom: “The strict conditions made for an interesting and challenging project. In addition to the legal rules that apply to all vehicles being driven on public roads, the World Solar Challenge requirements also had to be taken into consideration. Along with the wishes of the students." Frank advised the team based on sketched out proposals, which helped to integrate the car seats into the structural build of the interior. This procedure not only created a more attractive appearance, the solution made the entire vehicle lighter. Left room for additional amenities and comfort.
This marked the beginning of a close collaboration on the interior of Stella Lux, in which VanBerlo expanded on the seat design so that the TU/e team could focus on the rest of the interior. Frank explains, “Together we translated the wishes and demands into a workable reality. The result: stylish car seats that are fully integrated into the interior and contribute to a comfortable driving experience."

A positive, energetic family car

The biggest breakthrough about Stella Lux is that it is 'free' to drive. How is that possible? The solar cells soak up the sun's energy when the car is parked. The energy panel on the roof generates more energy than the average car consumes. No more plugging in to charge the battery, no more dependency on tank stations! When the car is plugged in, excess energy can also be stored outside the car batteries. In this way Stella Lux can even contribute to the household power supply. VanBerlo believes strongly in new approaches to mobility systems and decentralised energy, in doing its part to invest energy in this project.

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