Solar Electric VW Bus: Phase 2


| 7/17/2017 9:21:00 AM


Tags: electric vehicles, EV, vw bus, solar vehicles, solar panels, tiny homes, mobile living, lithium, Brett Belan, Oregon, ,

Good Clean Fun!

First, I must apologize for not blogging sooner….  I have been deep in fabrication of phase two of the solar electric VW bus.  Phase two for those just tuning in, includes replacing a lead acid battery bank with LiFePo batteries of much great capacity for extended range.  Also, phase two includes the addition of more solar power to gather more charging sunlight. Unfortunately, I did not have time to run a crowd funding campaign and was forced to come up with the money myself to procure phase two.  But...

The show must go on!

Currently I am fitting 192 Calb Cam72 Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries.   These batteries will increase my storage capacity by almost 4 times and reduce weight by 200lbs!  Taking it easy with the 10kw-hr lead pack, I could go 50 miles.   Now with 44kw-hr of storage and 200 less pounds compared to my lead pack, I will be inching towards the 200 mile range mark.  I go slow.  50 mph is where the wind resistance starts to really deplete energy.  Also the bus is a 1973 and going much more than 60 feels a little hectic anyway.  It is an RV and for me and my family slowing down and connecting with nature is our aim.

Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries Are Different than Other Lithium Batteries

Lithium Iron Phosphate based technology possesses superior thermal and chemical stability which provides better safety characteristics than those of Lithium-ion technology made with other cathode materials. Lithium phosphate cells are incombustible in the event of mishandling during charge or discharge, they are more stable under overcharge or short circuit conditions and they can withstand high temperatures without decomposing. When abuse does occur, the phosphate based cathode material will not burn and is not prone to thermal runaway. Phosphate chemistry also offers a longer cycle life.

I could have had about 66 kw-hr of energy storage instead of just 44kw-hr for the same price weight and size.  But, the LiFePo cells last significantly longer.

My decision, however, was first about safety.  The LiFePo battery is actually much safer and more environmentally friendly than the lead acid batteries I previously used.  Without the need to vent the LiFePo pack I can use my battery box vent system now to cool the LiFePo bank.

brettbelan
9/6/2017 7:43:37 PM

hey there sorry I meant 5, 200 watt panels (1000 watts), not 5200 watt panels.


motherearth
8/15/2017 4:23:33 PM

Wow. Wow. Wow. You are my hero. But what an investment... if i calculate right the batteries would have been around USD 20,000 the BMS another $ 2,550 and maybe another $ 10,000 for the 5kW of flexable solar panels if you got a good price... sweet jesus, i wish i had this kind of pocket money to put into my camper van. Please, if you got time for that i would love to see some documentation on the build, i want to know all the boring details :D It's kind of my dream to life/travel in a full size bus and have it run on electricity coming from the roof clad with some ~6kW PV and some insane battery storage... seems like you got the know how!





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