Futuristic solar-powered Dutch family car gives energy back to the grid

Solar Team Eindhoven vehicle ‘Stella Vie’ from the Netherlands pictured in front of the Adelaide Town Hall near the finish line of an epic 3,000-kilometer solar car race across Australia’s outback. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2017
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Futuristic solar-powered Dutch family car gives energy back to the grid

ADELAIDE: A futuristic Dutch family car that not only uses the sun as power but supplies energy back to the grid was hailed as “the future” Sunday as the World Solar Challenge wrapped up.
The innovative bi-annual contest, first run in 1987, began in Darwin a week ago with 41 vehicles setting off on a 3,000-kilometer trip through the heart of Australia to Adelaide.
Dutch car “Nuna 9” won the race for the third-straight time, crossing the finish line on Thursday after traveling at an average speed of 81.2 kilometers per hour.
It was competing in the Challenger class, which featured slick, single seat aerodynamic vehicles built for sustained endurance and total energy efficiency.
But there was also a Cruiser class, introduced to bridge the gap between high-end technology and everyday driving practicality.
German team HS Bochum was the first to arrive Friday with its stylish four-seater classic coupe, featuring sustainable materials such as vegan pineapple leather seats.
But another Dutch team, Eindhoven, was set to be crowned overall champion based on a system taking into account design, practicality, energy efficiency, and innovation, organizers said.
Their family car, “Stella Vie,” carried five people at an average speed of 69 kilometers per hour, with event director Chris Selwood saying it was a practical demonstration of what the future might look like.
“These incredible solar cars have been designed with the commercial market in mind and have all the features you’d expect in a family, luxury or sporting car,” he said.
“Team Eindhoven are to be congratulated on their achievement to date — clearly the most energy efficient solar car in the field, capable of generating more power than they consume.
“This is the future of solar electric vehicles. When your car is parked at home it can be charging and supplying energy back to the grid.”
Cars in the race were mostly developed by universities or corporations, with teams hailing from around the world.
They were allowed to store a small amount of energy but the majority of their power had to come from the sun and the vehicle’s kinetic forces.
Team Eindhoven said its vision had been to build a family car with a balance between aerodynamic, aesthetic and practical design.
“We think we succeeded very well with a car that is more efficient than its predecessors and includes some state-of-the-art technologies to not only generate energy but also supply it back to the grid,” they said.
“Through a smart charging and discharging system she charges the battery when the demand of energy from the grid is high and vice versa. Any surplus energy generated can easily be supplied back to the grid.”
Of the 12 Cruiser class cars that started, six finished.
As well as the German and Dutch entrants, vehicles from Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the United States also crossed the finish line.


Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

Updated 24 March 2019
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Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

  • The initiative will help Abu Dhabi reduce reliance on oil
  • Mubadala hopes to attract Chinese and Indian companies

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi will commit up to $272 million to support technology start-ups, it said on Sunday, in a dedicated hub as part of efforts to diversify its economy.

US tech giant Microsoft will be a strategic partner, providing technology and cloud services to the businesses that join the hub as the capital of the United Arab Emirates continues its push to reduce reliance on oil revenue.
Abu Dhabi derives about 50 percent of its real gross domestic product and about 90 percent of central government revenue from the hydrocarbon sector, according to ratings agency S&P.
The emirate launched a $13.6 billion stimulus fund, Ghadan 21, in September last year to accelerate economic growth. Ghadan means tomorrow in Arabic. The new initiative, named Hub 71, is linked to Ghadan will also involve the launch of a $136 million fund to invest in start-ups, said Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ventures, the technology arm of Mubadala Investment Co.
The goal is to have 100 companies over the next three to five years, Ajami said. “The market opportunities in this region are immense,” he added.
Mubadala, with assets of $225 billion and a big investor in tech companies, will act as the driver of the hub, located in the emirate’s financial district.
Softbank will be active in the hub and support the expansion of companies in which it has invested, Ajami said, adding that Mubadala is also aiming to attract Chinese and Indian companies, among others.
Mubadala which has committed $15 billion to the Softbank Vision Fund, plans to launch a $400 million fund to invest in leading European technology companies.
Incentives mapped out by the government include housing, office space and health insurance as part of the $272 million commitment, Ajami said.
Abu Dhabi will also announce a new research and development initiative on Monday linked to the Ghadan 21 plan, according to an invitation sent to journalists.