My First DIY Solar Car

| 7/30/2012 11:35:43 AM

Tags: solar, power, PV, photovoltaic, EV, electric car, DIY, Ben Nelson,

 DIY Solar Car 

Electric cars are fantastic, clean, transportation, and some people would consider a SOLAR-POWERED electric car to be the Holy Grail of electric vehicles. However, there are a number of challenges, including the cost of solar panels, PV efficiency compared to the surface of a vehicle, increased wind-resistance, and more.

But I didn't let that stop me from building a Solar-Electric Car for about $12.

Full Disclosure time — it's a children's ride — on POWER WHEELS toy. Okay, Okay..... so it's not a full-size, freeway-capable vehicle, but my two-year-old LOVES it!

This all got started a couple of years ago when some of my friends were competitively souping up kids toy cars, converting them into unusual adult go-carts, and racing them against each other. If you've been to any of the MAKER Fairs, you may have seen some of them in action. I had picked up a Power Wheels for free on Craiglist. I simply posted an ad "WANTED: Power Wheels, working or not." Sure enough, I got a reply saying that somebody had one but it didn't work, as it had no battery or charger. Perfect!

I never got around to hot-rodding the Power Wheels for competition. (I helped out on my friends projects, and acted as a replacement driver and pit crew during the races.) My life had gotten busy with a new baby at home, change in employment, and the usual challenges. So, I still had the stock Power Wheels Jeep just kicking around two years later.

josie elmstrom
8/8/2012 5:04:41 PM

When my son was 2yrs old, we bought him a brand new Jeep Power Wheels. The battery caught on fire while he driving it! These were the first-generation Power Wheels and apparently the batteries had been recalled. We had to drive 132mi to the nearest "battery replacement dealer". Thank goodness the replacement battery was free.

8/3/2012 9:05:10 AM

Oh!!! This is so cute! No wonder why your 2 year old little girl love it... and the main thing, she is also learning to take a green attitude towards the environment. Good work! Gnarum

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