Building a solar dc electric vehicle, car, trike

I am trying to build my own solar-electric vehicle. Interested in a 3 or 4 wheel version, getting drawings for a "trike" that has 2 wheels in front and 1 in the rear.

I also purchased a shell of a GEM electric cart. I believe I can mod this to a 3 or 4 wheel system but need to know if anyone has any lessons learned or sources.

I just purchased 138 solar controllers for the NiMH batteries (only need a couple I think but had to buy them all.

What I need is help in trying to figure out what type of motor and power needed to power say a 400lb vehicle and 5 adults. The batteries and then the solar panels. How is the motor chosen and what is the formula for calculating the size of the motor so that the vehicle can achieve a minimum of 40 MPH, the batteries needed, and the solar panels that would be the best form, fit, function.

The top of the vehicle is all glass and has plenty of open exterior space. Would like to see if there is any flexible film to that would be appropriate as well.


  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Building a solar dc electric vehicle, car, trike

    Google for "solar vehicle race". Look at those cars, stripped down to razor thin tires, flat shells that look like a speedboat more than a car. They can barely haul their batteries and human driver. To have a 5 person vehicle, run off it's own integrated solar roof, is impossible this year (and next). You can put a panel on the roof for show & tell, but it's effect on the scale of power that a 5 seater requires, will be nil.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    gen: ,