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MetroMPG 12-28-2007 10:58 PM

DIY Solar charged electric scooter
From TreeHugger:
Don Dunklee's DIY Solar Cycle

One of the questions that comes up most often when people ask me about the ForkenSwift is whether or not I could recharge it from solar panels, like this...


To pull off this feat, he installed two sets of folding panels that generate 120 watts in good sun. The bike's batteries hold 2400 watt-hours, so a Michigan summer's 9 hours of daily sun charges the battery about 1/2 full. Don estimates his ride uses only 25% of that. So, even with the occasional cloudy day (unfortunately, not uncommon in Michigan) doesn't mean the bike is dead. But, just in case, the factory charging apparatus is still intact.
But you can see from this example, this guy can *barely* keep his scooter 1/2 charged with that number of panels - and the scooter may be 10 times more energy efficient than the ForkenSwift!

So, as AndrewJ said:


So in short, yes a fold down solar panel could charge an EV, it would just take a month or so to reach a full charge. That or you'd have to have a huge array of solar panels to recharge it in any reasonable amount of time.
Or, you use a really efficient EV, like an e-bike, so the panels have some hope of being able to replace the small amount of energy the vehicle uses.

SVOboy 12-29-2007 12:56 AM

Did treehugger really just pick up this story? That thing is coooool.

MetroMPG 12-29-2007 01:27 PM

Do you mean is it a new TH story? It's from '05 actually.

bennelson 01-09-2008 11:16 PM

I love the way the solar panels fold out. It looks just like a space station with its solar sails raised.

A better way to charge would be to put big solar panels on your garage, and plug your vehicle into that. The only problem there is that the solar panels need to be where your vehicle is during the day. For most of us that means at a job somewhere.

It would be a great way to do it for home businesses and at-home parents.

MetroMPG 01-09-2008 11:27 PM

Another potential problem: I can tell you that if he'd had those arrays deployed today in the winds we had (90+ km/h gusts), that little scooter would have ended up in a tree (or under one)!

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