Could this solar-powered camper van be the future of road trips?

Students in the Netherlands have designed and built a solar-powered camper van that they've taken on a 3,000km road trip across western Europe.

The Stella Vita comes equipped with a kitchen, sitting area, bed, shower and toilet. The van can travel roughly 724km on a sunny day, reaching a top speed of 120kph. This also powers all the amenities inside the vehicle, as well as a TV and a laptop.

The solar panels on the roof can be expanded into a sun cover when the van is parked, and it can also be charged through electric charging ports.

Could this solar-powered camper van be the future of road trips?

20-year-old Tijn ter Horst, one of the Eindhoven University of Technology students behind the camper van, says “the technology is there, we just have to change the way we think.”

“If 22 students can design and build a vehicle like this in one year, then I’m sure companies could as well,” he says.

Dr Carlo van der Weijer, a professor at the university, believes there's a market for such a van, saying ecologically minded camping enthusiasts would be intrigued by an electric van that isn't reliant on charging points, which can be hard to come by any many places. Especially on road trips.

“On a cloudy day the vehicle can still produce 60-70% of the energy,” he says. “And even if there is no sun at all, you still have an efficient, normal electric car that you can charge from a charging port.”

According to the students, the van has attracted the attention of a lot of bystanders, particularly in Spain.

Could this be the future of electric vehicles?