Here are a set of plans for a street legal, affordable, and dependable solar powered scooter from Don Dunklee. The PV panels fold in for driving, and out for charging. Don rides the scooter 5 miles to work each day, and can fold the panels out for charging the battery while parked at work.
Download Plans - Part 1 (2.5MB pdf file)
Download Plans - Part 2 (3.8MB pdf file)
If you have any questions on building the scooter you can email Don here: organicgrower AT earthlink DOT net (change AT to an at sign and DOT to a period).
Here are a couple updates from Don on how the Solar Scooter is doing:
NEW April 2012:
The scooter still flying...returned to Earth Day 2012 At University of Michigan, Flint. Scooter a hit again. Kind of humbling that the interest is still strong. Will be on the local TV 25 news in May. They are doing an ECO Fuel Story about people doing things to avoid purchasing gasoline.
The scooter survived another winter outside. I took off the rear view mirrors and covered Scooter with plastic except for the solar panels this year.
14 miles into Flint for Earth Day and 14 back. No problems. The evening before I replaced one of the top cross locking bars that was bent the night before Earth Day last year when Scooter tipped over in the wind when I was out of town and a storm hit. I had hand straightened it, but decided to replace it this year. Replacement took less time than going to town to purchase a new piece of stock.
For others with electric scooters, check you tire pressure. On the first after winter trip to town a couple of weeks ago, the light kept going to the second or third level down from full charge indicating a higher amp drain. This despite a full battery. Apparently only having 10 lbs of pressure in tires made for 40 lbs, does effect performance and subsequently range.
That is about all for this years update.
This is Don's update for the scooter for 2010 -- its fairly long, so I moved it to a separate page...
Update includes information on Don's planned three wheeler electric vehicle project.
The scooter still flying. Survived a long winter with only a couple of issues. Scooter was left in the weather, uncovered this year as a test of the quality of EVT materials in rough conditions. The gray plastic is fading with sun, (will polish with some form of auto restoration chemical) but the new seat cover survived one of the snowiest winters in a few years. The panels are well balanced and were unfurled all winter. Despite winds in a storm this winter that bent the metal frame and ripped the plastic off of a 14 x 72 foot hoop house less than 100 feet away, the bike never tipped.
I will need to get new batteries this year as they fade in about 9 miles of driving, but these are the original batteries. They have been outside for the entire life of the bike, (no garage) so that probably says the charging system is doing fine at protecting the batteries. Keeping speed/battery drain steady is probably a help as well.
Scooter is "flying" still. I understand soon to be in Home Power magazine...cool.
I am still on the original batteries as well, the solar seems to be gracefully keeping the gel cells well charged and I see no change in range yet going into the third season. This includes the batteries being out in the winter weather for the season. Had a big storm take down trees within 200 feet of the scooter and the bike remained standing with no problems. The sunshine does seem to fade the plastic body panels a bit, and I will need a new seat cover, but Armor All fixed the color on the plastic and the vinyl for the seat is not a big deal. I did not cover the bike for the winter to see what would happen. Snow, Rain, Mother Nature at her best and all is still well :) .
The scooter at season end was used for 104 trips to work over the time frame of April 15th to October 17th. This was 1,100 miles of solar charged travel. During the winter the scooter was plugged into my house array so the 120 watts of solar could be added to my house, thus allowing year round use of the panels. The rig stood up to winter wind gusts and snow loads, including gusts of over 50mph, with no damage.
Just an update......I just passed 900 miles of solar charged commuting. I last plugged the bike in on April 15th, 2005. That works out to over 80 trips back and forth to town. Largest packages carried home were 55lb bags of seed for my farm. Ride nice on the foot area.
By downloading or using the ideas, information, calculations, or plans on this page you hold me harmless from any damages or injuries that might result from errors, omissions or just plain bad design. It is your responsibility to make sure that any project you undertake is safe and effective for your situation. Do your homework!