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Meet Stella, the Electric Family Car That Goes 500 Miles on a Charge and Is Powered by Sunshine

We take a ride in the road-ready solar sedan built by a team of Dutch students.
September 23, 2014 By Todd Woody
Todd Woody is TakePart’s senior editor for environment and wildlife.
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San Franciscans are a jaded lot when it comes to electric cars, what with Tesla Model Ss clogging the city’s pricier precincts along with a forest of Leafs, Nissan’s battery-powered vehicles for the middle class. Not to mention the Chevrolet Volts, BMW i3s, and Ford Focus Electrics plying the highways and byways of the Bay Area.

But jaws dropped when I drove down the streets of the tony Laurel Heights neighborhood on Monday in the Stella, a tadpole-shaped electric sedan covered in solar modules and powered solely by sunshine.

The Stella can go nearly 500 miles on a single charge. That’s almost double the range of the Model S we passed, though you rarely would even need to plug the car into an electrical outlet given that its 1.5 kilowatt solar array continuously charges the lithium-ion battery pack—as long as the sun is shining, of course. A solar panel system on a suburban rooftop, in contrast, typically generates three to five kilowatts of electricity.
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