Here's a project that can let Mom, Dad, & Jr. or Princess all play together in the back yar by improving a Power Wheels electric car and upgrading it to green technology and renewable energy.

A while back, I had gotten a PowerWheels Jeep, but it didn't have a battery or charger. And it always seems that these toy cars end up getting left outside anyways, AND it's a little bit of a pain to pull out the battery to recharge.

Since I already built a full-size electric car AND I am interested in renewable energy, this was the perfect chance for me to build my own low-voltage SOLAR-POWERED ELECTRIC CAR!

The project integrates the PowerWheels with a battery, PV Solar Panels on a custom rack, and a solar charge controller, to design a child's solar-electric car.

Let's get started!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
For this project you are going to need some fairly typical tools, but you may or may not have worked with solar-electric components before. That's OK, the whole system is low voltage, and pretty easy to work on.

Here's the Materials:
  • Fisher-Price POWER WHEELS ride-on toy or similar
  • 20AH, 12V sealed lead-acid battery
  • 2 ten-foot sections of 1/2" electrical conduit (for the solar rack)
  • Harbor Freight 45 watt Solar Panel kit or equivalent ( http://www.harborfreight.com/45-watt-solar-panel-kit-68751.html )
  • 8 x 1.5" stainless steel 1/4-20 machine screws, with matching washers and lock-nuts
  • 2 x 5/16" x 5" bolts with matching fender washers and lock-nuts
  • 2'x1' of plexiglass, plastic, or other sturdy, waterproof material
  • Scrap tubing to make spacers
  • Self-tapping sheet-metal screws
  • 4 x mending plates
  • Assorted electrical connectors, ring and spade terminals
  • 30-amp in-line fuse
  • Zip-Ties
  • Spray paint

  • Tape measure
  • Drill & assorted bits, including screw-driving bit
  • Pipe cutter
  • Angle grinder and vise
  • Wire strippers and crimpers
  • Welder
  • Wrenches and Sockets (7/16" and 1/2")
  • Typical safety equipment and PPE (work gloves, safety glasses, hearing projecting, etc.)
That is sick!!!! Although it would be even more awesome if you made it gas powered!!!
bennelson (author) 3 years ago
Hi everyone,

After thinking about it for a while, I think I could build a version of this entirely out of plywood and stock electronic parts from scratch.

It could be sold as a kit. (Precut wood parts flat-packed, with with electric motor, and a few other required parts.)

What would you think of that?
Awesome! And I love the sheep in the jeep, so cute :)
Jayefuu3 years ago
Excellent build as ever ben!
l8nite3 years ago
this is a FANTASTIC idea !
meanpc3 years ago
Isn't it good when you can combine your hobbies with things your kids like to do? I find it's a lot easier to get build time when "it's for the kids". Really nice build - reminds me that I need to learn how to weld.
epierce3 years ago
Great job!! What is the top speed/ range?
bennelson (author)  epierce3 years ago
5 miles per hour
One backyard ( I guess that generally Power Wheels are considered an hour or so run-time )

My little girl usually plays with the car for up to 20 minutes, and the battery is fine for the whole time she's playing.
canucksgirl3 years ago
I LOVE IT! Very well done.

I'm not sure what I loved more in the video... You riding it, or the comment about you having to teach her about the brakes! lol ;-)