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PPG, Dutch University to Develop First Off-Road Solar Car

Written by Autobody News Staff
Published
Sept. 29, 2023

PPG announced in a news release a partnership with a student organization from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands to develop the Stella Terra, believed to be the world’s first off-road car powered by the energy of the sun, making it independent of charging stations and paved roads.

As part of its recent $5 million commitment to environmental sustainability education, PPG is providing a grant of $37,000 to the Solar Team Eindhoven, as well as supplying its PPG CORACHAR™ fire protection coating to protect the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery pack. The Stella Terra has been designed to withstand the harsh conditions of off-roading, and in October the team will depart for Morocco, where it will undergo extensive testing, including in the Sahara desert.

“A risk of Li-ion batteries is that they can experience thermal runaway,” said Wisse Bos, team manager of Solar Team Eindhoven. “While the probability of this failure occurring is rather slim, we decided to partner with PPG to minimize the effects of such a severe accident. PPG’s cutting-edge innovations on battery coatings make it possible for Terra’s drivers and its surroundings to evacuate in a worst-case scenario by stalling the spread of a battery fire.”

PPG CoraChar battery fire protection coatings are intumescent---they expand in the presence of high heat or fire---to provide an insulating layer to protect from thermal damage. The coatings cover a wide range of applications and leverage PPG’s experience with industrial and commercial fire protection, improve light-weighting, increasing battery performance, and supporting passenger and first-responder safety in case of a fire.

“The project supports PPG’s goals of developing sustainably advantaged technologies and supporting sustainability education,” said Thierry Destruhaut, PPG customer sustainability business partner, Automotive OEM Coatings. “Through this investment, we aim to support educational activities related to clean energy and the future of mobility and help prepare the next generation of leaders to understand the impacts of climate change.”

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