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.


Turkey sees lower growth, double-digit inflation in next years

Updated 36 min 6 sec ago
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Turkey sees lower growth, double-digit inflation in next years

  • The economy, which grew by 7.4 percent in 2017, would expand by just 3.8 percent in 2018 and then 2.3 percent in 2019
  • For 2020 and 2021, the forecasts were more optimistic, with growth seen at 3.5 percent

ISTANBUL: Turkey, which was last month buffeted by its worst currency crisis in recent years, on Thursday forecast sharply lower growth coupled with persistently high inflation in its new medium-term economic program.
The economy, which grew by 7.4 percent in 2017, would expand by just 3.8 percent in 2018 and then 2.3 percent in 2019, according to figures unveiled at a presentation in Istanbul by Finance Minister Berat Albayrak.
Inflation, meanwhile, would balloon to 20.8 percent at the end of 2018, moderating only slightly to 15.9 percent in 2019, the figures showed.
For 2020 and 2021, the forecasts were more optimistic, with growth seen at 3.5 percent and 5.0 percent, respectively, while inflation is seen moderating finally to a single digit 9.8 percent in 2020 and then a year later to 6.0 percent.
Albayrak, who is a son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said what he termed the “New Economic Programme” would be based on the three principes of “balancing, discipline, and change.”
“Our aim is to write a new success story,” he said.
Greater economic prosperity has been one of the pillars of Erdogan’s popularity in his over 15 years in power, with the country seeing impressive growth rates in consecutive years.
However economists have warned that the all-out push for growth has led to a potentially dangerous overheating, with inflation rampant, the currency account deficit widening and doubts over the health of the banking system.
These fault lines were exposed in August when a diplomatic spat with the United States caused a crash in the value of the lira, sparking fears of a full-blown economic crisis.
Albayrak said that in 2019 projects whose tender had not been carried out would be “suspended” and vowed Turkey would create two million new job opportunities by 2021.
“We will realize a program to totally fight against inflation,” Albayrak said, highlighting food inflation which has particularly worried Turks.
Markets greeted his assessments as realistic but the lira was trading lightly lower against the dollar at 6.2, a loss of 0.8 percent in value on the day.