Solar Powered Electric Car

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Introduction: Solar Powered Electric Car

After converting 1995 Aspire to electric vehicle ,I decided to go 1 step further. I installed 6 solar panels on garage roof , with batteries and inverter in garage. Car charges during the day and I drive it on after work missions. Works great driving around town (usually only 5-10 mile trips) will go 55 mph. If it is cloudy a few hours charging continues due to batteries in garage.

Step 1: Remove Engine

First step is removal of engine and components, radiator , tailpipe , muffler ,etc

Step 2: Build Racks for Batteries

Using angle and square tubing to build battery racks. Rack at rear and front 3 batteries are suspended between frame members. Five batteries under hood , four in rear. Rear batteries are sealed in plastic container with fan exhausting under vehicle during charging.

Step 3: Install Electric Motor

Mount motor to adapter plate with shaft coupler. Bolt unit to transaxle and either run motor slow (connected to small battery) or turn front wheel , checking for alignment. I also braced motor with angles ,as engine was attached to motor mount originally.

Step 4: Main Wiring

Wiring is next after installing batteries , speed controller , throttle Box ,and contactor . Welding cable is used to connect batteries in series and from contactor to speed controller to motor. Throttle box is connected to cable from gas pedal and wired to speed controller. Ignition switch controls main contactor.

Step 5: More Wiring

Converter to change 72volts to 12volts (to run headlights etc) is mounted and wired to 12 volt car battery. I mounted 12volt vacuum pump (for brakes) in gas tank because it is noisy. 120 volt Battery charger is connected to main battery bank, and mounted in back of car. Volt and ammeter mounted and wired.

Step 6: Solar Panel Setup

Build mounts for solar panels from 1/2" conduit and 2 by 4. Wire 6 panels together inside fused electrical box. Run large gauge wire from box into garage.

Step 7: Garage Set Up

Power from panels flows thru charge controller (keeps batteries from overcharging) to eight 6 volt golf cart batteries . On a clear day 30 amps is available from panels. A 1000 watt inverter is connected to battery bank with large gauge wire. Cars 120 volt charger is connected to inverter.

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    user

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    97 Comments

    Hi. Thank you for sharing it. I have a question though.

    Why didn't you remove the transmission as well thereby reducing some more weight and increasing the efficiency a bit more? I mean, we all know that electric motors have much more precise control over torque. Do you actually need gears?

    this makes me miss my 86 Subaru that was converted. It finally was too difficult to continue to repair (rusted out).

    How did you get your hands on a motor like that, I've been looking for a long time but never found anything

    1 reply

    You could use a golf-cart motor, or possibly a starter motor from a pickup truck or other large vehicle.

    How do you get it passed state inspection? When you convert the car, do you need license plate and automobile insurance?

    kindly mail me in brief means which motor shall i used and list of components which i can buy here in pakistan to manufacture these and explore more about it knidly mail me?

    1 reply

    I want to make a car..solar based...
    plz mail details about its components ..design..and all other things...plzzzz. ..

    Great instructable. You could have a hydroelectric generator going 24/7 to power it. 12 motors acting as water wheels then use a DC to DC boosting circuit to get them to 10V each. 10 x 12 = 120V. You could then charge the batteries. 24/7 power and you wouldn't need as any batteries because it would run continuously therefore you wouldn't need as much voltage or motors. Let me know what you think of it, if there are any flaws and any ways to improve it. Thanks.

    What's your optimal RPM for your motor? I have a differential with a 1:3.5 ratio that I'm considering mounting a motor on, but not sure if I should hook it up with a transmission in between.

    user

    a job well done! a true, pure home made Electric car. why don't you use one of the batteries 12v for headlights rather than 72v to 12v converter? also please think about putting Solar panels on roof and hood. those 100w something may improve driveability of the car!

    Frankly.. I think this is a great project. Might change the batteries, voltage & motor a little.. But all else for me is on project ! I'm building a high horsepower for drag racing. Hoping to have a car that will certainly turn some heads and not thinking they have a category for electric cars yet t soul .

    please can i hav the complete explanation for this electric car this is my email (georgekaycares@gmail.com)

    50... i think.... i would think...idk

    You could try putting vents at the top of the bonnet (Windsheild end) to help the air flow freely through and reduce drag.

    I don't know if it will work but could be worth trying :)

    Where in IL are you? I'm in Buffalo Grove, and would love to see the car someday if you're not too far away! Regards, Steve

    1 reply

    Yes, I too am in IL and wondering how far away from you I am. Also wondering if you do conversions for other, mechanically challenged people? And you total costs? I am very impressed!! Good job!

    Awesome job. I've been wanting to go electric with and old beetle for a while now. I hope to have the success that you have.

    2 replies

    Actually I was looking for an old beetle , before I found this Aspire , If I remember its a little lighter (and I wouldn't have to wear a seat belt) .I'm sure that someone has already figured out mounting motor and other tricks if you search online.

    Why ruin a valuable car like an older VW. If it is old enough to not require a seat belt, It is an extremely valuable VW. It would make more sense to restore the Beetle and sell it. There should be enough cash to buy a new electric car if you wanted.