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Solar Powered Electric Wheelchair Answered

I would like to put a Challenge out there for anyone to come up with.

You see, I am in a wheelchair and I would love to go hiking with my son, but my chair can only go so far before it needs to be plugged back into a socket. I hate this, because it keeps me from going most places I want to go outdoors. But it dawned on me that if I had a Solar Powered Option to my chair, nothing could hold me back from being outdoors again. Ok yah,  it would help if I could redesign the platform & wheels too, but that's not the most important part... I NEED POWER.

So, if anyone feels like taking on a new challenge and you are into Solar Power perhaps you could help me in this way.

Thank You for your time in reading this, I hope to plant seeds of inspiration with all of you!

May Love Light Your Way, Blessings! 



11 months ago

I too am planning to add solar power to my electric wheelchair. I’m trying to work out the math, starting from zero knowledge. I picked a geek’s brain for where to start and am now facing the change of getting better power specs on my out-of-production Merits P102 Travel-eaze folding power wheelchair. It runs on two U1 12V batteries and does not go far enough on a single charge for my purposes.

Here is a chair created by some university students for a CP organization’s assistance project competition.

There are some specs mentioned in the video but I’ve yet to have a pencil ready to jot them down. The best part is that at 1mph the chair can go indefinitely. At the 4mph max they added a lot of time as compared to the unboosted power.

There are other references online regarding this specific project. I’m guessing that since this was made solar panel technology has improved. A curved panel might be a convenient addition, considering how hazardous I am to others with just my umbrella. I’m concerned about maming people with the corners of the panel frame. Using the panel(s) as a shade canopy would impair the ability to tilt the panel(s) toward the sun, but might be a worthwhile trade-off. We want the chair to get the sun, not the person.

Their panels are raised and lowered with motors rather than manually. I personally would be able to skip that feature. The three panels extend a bit like an armadillo. I’d like to have a single panel that can be lowered to behind the seat back for indoor-use and crowded spaces. I’m thinking I might pad the corners with pool noodle bits for the first try.

I don’t yet understand why a 12V system is all I can find. The chairs I’ve seen use 24V. (2 12V batteries) As I mentioned though, I’m at the beginning stages of the technology planning process. I came a across a company that offers a solar kit for their specific chair, but I am on a very tight budget. My wise friend took a wild guess, without all of the specs on hand, that I could build a system for around $300. That’s still well beyond my means, but the chair will be so much more usable with the extended range.

I hope to see your results. Cheers!


2 years ago

You could have a solar powered wheelchair, it just wouldn't be very practical or good for "hiking." There are solar powered cars. You could build one or have one built and use it in open spaces or on a wide track.


2 years ago

If you're looking at driving your chair directly off solar power, I am afraid you will probably be disappointed - going off-road will require full-power from your chair, which Google says is anywhere between 400-800W.

In full, direct sunlight, using good-quality solar cells, that would require 2-4 square metres of solar cell, even more as soon as your chair turns the cells away.

But, don't be discouraged - you can always look at increasing the number of batteries you carry, and maybe having a solar charger running back in the car or at base-camp.


Reply 2 years ago

I never thought of that, but that would give me more miles. It gives me more information to go on so Thank You for your reply.
I won't give up until I have figured out a way to make this doable with sustainable power.


Reply 2 years ago

If you go with DU35mm's suggestion, you could run the generator on sustainable biofuels.

Heck, go the whole hog and convert a quad bike to run on old vegetable oil.


Reply 2 years ago

I did a mobility scooter conversion some years ago for a guy on a farm property.
He had similar problems like you have :)
Won't go into all mods and problems along the way, just the one for the power:
The guy only had solar power for his property and for the bad days a little generator so even charging a decent battery pack for a scooter was often a problem.
And since he needed the thing every day to check on his little farm animals and to get the rubbish bins down a 2.5km driveway every week...
After making the scooter offroad capable I added a small generator that runs on petrol.
Since it could serve a double pupose the only problem was to find one with a 24V outlet instead of the usual 12V.
"Silent" inverter type I might add.
The damn thing was close to $2000 but it offered a key start with build in battery, which was misused to fire it up through a switch on the handle bars.
A tank of fuel lasts for about 8 hours but the power output on the 24V side is only 5A, so not enough for full power runs on the scooter but more than enough to keep going on a low battery to get home.

Solar is only an option for a stationary charge point as even a 200W panel would already be bigger than a normal scooter....


Reply 2 years ago

Well Poot. Cell Phones have a Solar Panel that can charge on the move, so I thought this tech was already out and ready to go. Hmmmm... Gas is not an option for me even if I did have a "scooter" which I do not... at this point.

There has got to be an answer for out there somewhere and I will keep looking for it.

Thank You so much for replying, Blessings!