Most solar-powered vehicles are so tiny and light that they can only carry one environmentally cautious driver. But not any more. The big-boned Stella, designed by Solar Team Eindhoven, is the first solar-powered car with enough room to fit your whole four-person family.

Made of lightweight carbon and aluminum, Stella is no slouch; it has a respectable operating distance of some 373 miles on a single charge. And if that wasn't enough, its solar panels actually generate more energy than it needs to drive, so that excess can actually be discharged into the power grid. That kind of efficiency doesn't just come from nowhere though; Stella looks like it's practically made out of paper, which is less than ideal for a "family" vehicle. You know, if you care about your family.


Stella's set to participate in the World Solar Challenge this October, a 1875 mile race across the Australian Outback where entrants are graded on not only speed, but efficiency, and passenger counts. It's a chance for Stella to prove its mettle. Here's to hoping it can handle obstacles like a head-on collision with a particularly strong gust of wind. [Solar Team Eindhoven via Inhabitat]