Solar-Electric VW Bus conversion
May 18, 2017; Date:
Generally speaking solar powered electric vehicles aren't feasible because the weight and aerodynamics of the solar array offset any gain the solar panels might give. It's a dream many have, solar powered vehicles, but in reality-land it doesn't work too well. Unless your vehicle already has the aerodynamics of a brick, such as the old-school VW Bus. This nice video shows an excellently thought-out VW Bus EV conversion that has an excellently thought-out solar array attached to the roof. The installation covered the struts holding the array in place, for example, to minimize aerodynamics problems. Going by what's said in the video, the system offers 40-50 miles of EV range (using a lead-acid battery pack, the next phase is a Lithium-ION pack giving a couple hundred miles rage) but a fairly lengthy recharge time because the system produces 12 amps peak. That last bit confirms the problem with solar powered EV's -- it's difficult to carry enough panels to recharge the vehicle in a reasonable amount of time. Also notice that the VW Bus is parked at an odd angle in the parking lot, because it has to be oriented optimally to the sun.