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A Biofuel-Powered Hybrid Home on Wheels by Sunray Kelley

By Lloyd Kahn  

Tags: Green Transportation, Alternative Energy, Sustainability, Sustainable Living,

SunRay Gypsy WagonSunRay Kelley is building a unique home on wheels (which will be featured in my book on tiny houses, Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter). Inspired by gypsy caravans, he got a vintage 1984 Toyota dolphin camper vehicle (1-ton rear axle), demolished the camper shell, and built a canted-wall, curved-roof frame out of recycled aluminum. Called the Gypsy Wagon, it's got a wild new shape and a unique solar/electric/diesel hybrid power plant.

The sides are cedar, there's a forward solarium, a stained glass rear window, and a back porch. There will be 3,000 watts of solar panels (some of which will fold down), two 156-volt banks of lithium iron phosphate batteries, and a 12 inch GE electric motor. The Toyota's gas motor has been removed and a four-cylinder 1,500 cc diesel motor installed that will run on biodiesel.

The batteries will be charged three different ways: one, by plugging into a standard 110-volt electrical outlet; two, by the PV array installed on the roof and wings; and three, by a 26-kw Perkins diesel powered generator (a “gen-set”). As SunRay explains, “Trains have for years been run with an electric motor powered by a diesel generator.”

SunRay is a brilliant (and competent) builder. Click on the link below, then go to the slideshow at the bottom of the page and click on the arrow to see some two-page spreads of his work in Builders of the Pacific Coast. 

Any green angel investors out there? SunRay, as usual, is working on a shoestring, and could use financial backing. It's a wonderful project that will enlighten and inspire people to utilize alternative sources of energy and recycled materials. Contact him at: sunray [at symbol]