October 19, 2021

The Future of Camping is here: Dutch Students developed a Solar-Powered Van.


Is it possible to combine sustainability and traveling?

Many of us love to travel but feel guilty about it at the same time. We want to explore the world but know that traveling itself is also part of the problem.

So, how can we continue doing what we love in a mindful way?

A group of Dutch students might have found the answer to this quesation: a solar-powered camper. After just one year of research, they were able to present a prototype. And not only that, they were able to complete an 1,800-mile road trip across Europe.

The “Stella Vita” comes with a kitchen, bed, shower, and toilet designed for two passengers. The solar panels cover the entire roof of the van when driving and can be extended when parking. And if the sun doesn’t shine, the van can be charged up just as any other electric car.

When I saw the images of this van, I said to myself, “Shut up and take my money!”

But unfortunately, we are not there yet. This is just a prototype. It is fascinating to see that a group of students from the University of Eindhoven was able to design, build, and test this vehicle within just a year.

Tijn Ter Horst, a 21-year-old member of the team, explains, “What we’re trying to do is to show people and show companies what’s already possible.” So, this article is not an advertisement for the “Stella Vita,” as we cannot buy it yet.

This prototype is just giving us an idea of what to expect in the future. I can’t wait for the day when major car companies offer vehicles like this one to the public.

Just imagine traveling thousands of miles (or kilometers) without causing any pollution? We could drive from coast to coast without even worrying about negative effects on the planet.

And this is just the beginning.

What if we could build a solar-powered camper that can drive itself? Both technologies are almost available to the public, and we just need someone to connect the dots.

Imagine jumping into a van, telling it where to go, and waking up at a beach of your choice? Or if you choose to travel during daytime, why not lounge in the back and enjoy the view?

This van could be the beginning of a revolution in travel. I mean, seriously, who is not sick of long lines, security checks, and folks acting like idiots on airports and planes? I would rather watch TV in my solar-powered van while traveling than sit on a plane while eating junk food out of a plastic tray.

And that is the bottom line of this conversation: we don’t want to stop traveling; we just need to change how we think about it.

This Dutch team of engineers took the first step toward sustainable camping. Let’s hope that their prototype inspires car companies around the world to follow their lead.

And until then, I will already start saving some money.




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