Solar (and energy efficient) Vehicles

Page Directory:

The PrISUm Fusion by the Iowa State Solar Car Team...

Report Broken Links ...

Solar and Electric Bicycles, Scooters and LEV's
Solar Scooter

Full Scooter Plans from Don

Article on the scooter in Tree Hugger with some additional pictures:

Updated: Don reports on the status of the scooter after three seasons of heavy commuting use.
Don's scooter has a full article in the Aug/Sept 2007 Home Power Magazine.

A solar scooter by Don Dunklee.   Street legal, affordable and dependable. 

 Thanks to Don for making the plans available!

Accelerated Composites Aptera

Unfortunately, Aptera did not make it and went of business in December of 2011.  Hopefully someone else will pick up the concept.

Maybe not -- Aptera's assets have been purchased by a China company...

Wikipedia has some historic information on Aptera...

More from AutoBlogGreen on Aptera...

The Accelerated Composites Aptera will be produced as an all electric and as a plug in hybrid.   Seating for two adults + an infant seat behind.     Zero to 60 in 10 secs, top speed around 85 mph.  Drag coefficient of 0.05., weight 850 lbs, range 120 miles(?).

While it is licensed as a motorcycle, they have put a lot of emphasis on safety including air bags and front, side, and rollover protection.

Their goal is to offer the EV version in late 2008 and the hybrid version in late 2009  -- prices projected to start at $27K.  Pretty exciting vehicle.  Update: some delays, but it they have paid reservations for 5000+ vehicles.  Initially only available in California.  Mid 2010?

Light Electric Vehicles (LEV)


This is a good place to start looking for a small efficient electric vehicle.

A great site for unbiased information on light electric vehicles, which includes electric bicycles, scooters, 1 person cars, motorcycles, ...   Lots of good, practical electric transportation.    Even some DIY kits.


Owner's manual:

NEW: Nap Pepin's  BugE based advanced homemade EV -- 56 watt-hr/mile:

A very nice and efficient little three wheel,
one passenger, electric vehicle with some weather protection.

Offered as a kit for about $4000. 
Range around 30 miles. 
Top speed around 50 mph. 
Powered by 4 12 volt lead-acid batteries.  Empty weight 385 lbs.
Small luggage compartment at front.

Uses about 170 watt-hours per mile -- nearly 10 times the efficiency of a typical gasoline car.   Could be charged via a solar PV array at home.
Lots of detail on the website.  Parts available individually.

Meyers No-More-Gas


These three wheel electric vehicles are kind of a cross between a motorcycle and car.
One person, 75mph top speed, 30 mile range, heater, power windows, licensed as a motorcycle, safety features, ...

2 cents per mile fuel cost.

Vectrix Electric Scooter

Vectrix did not make it.


A electric scooter to be on sale in early 2007.  Top speed 62 mph, 0-50 in 6.8 sec, up to 68 mile range.  Regenerative braking.  It looks like a well thought out design that is new from the bottom up.
The website has quite a bit of information, and also includes some interesting planned projects, as in a hybrid version.  About $8000.
SunETrike Solar Powered Trike


A solar and pedal powered trike kit.
170 watt solar panel/roof.

Can actually run directly off solar panel at 6 to 8mph without pedaling.  12 to 14 mph with battery.

They sell plans and part kits for several different models.

(Thanks to Jerry for suggesting this)

Solar Electric Bicycle Project



An electrically assisted bike with onboard 5 watt PV panel for solar charging.


Kevins Electric Bike with Solar Mud Guards



Kevin built an electric.  Maximum speed is about 25mph, and the range is about 12 miles -- more if you pedal some.
And, the PV panels double as mud guards.  More ...
Terry's Suitcase Solar Electric Scooter


Terry designed and built this amazing little solar powered electric scooter that actually folds up and fits inside a suitcase.

It weighs 44 lbs and has a 13 km range.

This is a one of a kind prototype.  Terry has a unique plan going to fund a follow-on version of the scooter that involves giving away the first prototype to some lucky person -- see his site for details.
Green Wheel -- A new electric bike design from MIT


A nice simple new electric bike design from MIT.  The motor and lithium ion batteries are all packaged in the hub. 
The handle bar mounted throttle connects to the hub via Bluetooth.
Said to be good for 20 miles with you pedaling some to help.
Drive and EV and Never Buy Gas Again,

Mother Earth News
Finding Mother Earth News articles...

An overview article on small electric vehicles from the Mother Earth News, April/May 06
SUNN - Solar Powered Car Kit

Kit Info:


A two person, 25 mph, 12 mile range Neighborhood Electric Vehicle.

Solar panel on the hood for charging the battery.

Plans and a parts kit are to be available in the spring of 07.

"Moonbeam" -- a DIY 100+mpg car

Moonbeam car


Homemade car made from motorcycles and a lot of time and thought.

Quite a bit of information on building it.

Motorhome Bike


From Bike Portland and Treehugger

Brian's amazing homemade motorhome bike.

"Amazingly, the guy claims to have ridden this contraption all over the U.S. and down to Mexico"

NYCE Wheels -- Electric Bike Conversion Kit Reviews...




Reviews of electric bike conversion kits.

EV Album


The EV Album has detailed descriptions of quite few electric cars and motorcycles (not to mention a snow blower or two).




The Ecomodder site has user submitted projects ranging from simple tips and mods to some very ambitious projects.  Lots of detail on some of them.  Lots of interesting material.

"Welcome to, an automotive community where performance is judged by fuel economy rather than power and speed. EcoModders employ a combination of vehicle mods, driving techniques, and common sense to squeeze every penny out of the pumps."

Transportation that Works in Disasters


Having a way to get around in a natural disaster in which the very delicate infrastructure for getting gasoline to us is disrupted is a nice extra benefit of owning a solar powered electric scooter or bike.


Dog Powered Scooter


Yes, I can just see my dog doing this -- not.
Electric Cars
Electric Cars: A Definitive Guide


A new online guide to all known electric cars from the folks at

A really helpful rundown on what's available or soon to be available.

New Electric Section for

Fuel Economy dot gov electric vehicle has added a new section on electric cars.  It gives good comparison data on electrics that are already out there, and also has section on New and Upcoming Electric Vehicles.

I think they overstate the environmental benefits for the US, and that its good to also see this study..., but there is a lot of good information in the new section.

Electric Forum

ElectricForum LogoGood site with lots of information and news on electric cars and electric car conversions.

Electric car forum with lots of particiapation.

Solar Today -- Efficient Cars Roundup 2014-15...

efficient car tableThis is the seventh annual roundup of efficient cars by Solar Today.  Very good tabulated data that does a really good job of showing both energy use and CO2 emissions in this complicated world of electrics, hybrids, and plug in hybrids.   Best job of summarizing the whole picture I have seen.

How do electric car CO2 emissions compare to gasoline powered cars?

Is Electricity A Clean Energy Source?...


well to wheel mpg of electric  carsThis article compares the CO2 emissions for electric vehicles to gasoline powered vehicles. It includes the emissions associated with the generation of the electricity.

How the comparison comes out depends a lot on how clean the source of your electricity is. For electricity produced by coal, an EV is equivalent roughly to a 30 mpg gasoline powered card, for NG its 54 mpg and for wind its 3900 mpg.


Nissan LEAF EV

NEW Latest on the Leaf -- price to be around $33K with rebates bringing it down to about $25K...

More on the Leaf battery pack...

Nissan has announced that the new LEAF pure electric car will be available in the US in late 2010.

Carries 5 people, range 100 miles, top speed 90 mph.  24 KWH li-Ion battery pack.  90 KW synchronous AC motor.
Quick charge to 80% in half an hour.


Mitsubishi i MiEV ...

Fun video driving the iMiEV...


Mitsubishi's electric car version of the i MiEV.
4 passenger, 80 mph top speed, and 80 mile range. 

"Ride comfort is surprisingly good"

330 volt Li-Ion battery system charges in 7 hours, but a half hour quick charge is being pursued.

To be sold in Japan in 2009 along with the existing gas powered version.

Accelerated Composites Aptera

Unfortunately the Aptera did not make it

The Accelerated Composites Aptera will be produced as an all electric and as a plug in hybrid.   Seating for two adults + an infant seat behind.     Zero to 60 in 10 secs, top speed around 85 mph.  Drag coefficient of 0.05., weight 850 lbs, range 120 miles(?).

While it is licensed as a motorcycle, they have put a lot of emphasis on safety including air bags and front, side, and rollover protection.

Their goal is to offer the EV version in late 2008 and the hybrid version in late 2009  -- prices projected to start at $27K.  Pretty exciting vehicle.

The Buddy

Small electric car from Norway ...


A small electric car that is currently available and (I'm told) popular in Norway and a number of other countries.

3 people, crumple zones, regenerative braking, and trunk capacity of "8 bags of groceries".   Also accepts "varying battery technologies".
More models coming.  Top speed 90 kph.
An email response to a question about US availability said  "not likely" because of the way the Buddy would be classified in the US.  (thanks to Der for suggesting this)

EV Resources


A list of EV and EV conversion resources, clubs, suppliers, ...
Solar Electricity at Home...,
Kevin Johnson

How to get articles from Home Power ...

Home Power magazine article, issue 117.
This is quite an amazing story.  Kevin details how his family has 1) cut their transportation energy use to about 5 KWH per day by using an electric vehicle conversion, and 2) their home electricity use to about 5 KWH per day through conservation. 
All of this energy is supplied by all of this energy is supplied by a 2.9 KW grid tied PV system. 
Why We Need Electric Cars,
Steve Heckeroth,
Mother Earth News

Finding Mother Earth News articles...


Mother Earth News, Oct/Nov 2006, issue 218.
Good article on electric cars -- makes a good case for electric vehicles and plug in hybrids.  Shows that even with electric cars and plug in hybrids charged from the largely fossil fuel powered electric grid that a significant reduction in green house gases results.
Tesla Motors-- high performance EV sedans...


Tesla, the maker of the Tesla Roadster (just below), announced the details on the coming sedan model.
Seats up to 5 adults + 2 children, ranges from 160 to 300 miles depending on battery pack, zero to 60 mph in 6 seconds, and a price just under $50K (including $7K fed rebate).
Production by Q4, 2011 -- start saving!



The amazing 2 seater electric sports car that does 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, and has a range of 220 miles.
A bit out of my price range, but nice to see what can be done.
The first few have been delivered.
Electric Car Future? Fix the Grid First,
Chris Ellis



This is not such good news for people in the US (like me) who want to reduce carbon emissions by buying an electric vehicle.  It may be more effective in the near term to work harder on cleaning up fossil fueled vehicles.
 EV Conversions
Converting a gas engine car to an EV is entirely feasible simpler than many would think.   There are kits available that make the job even more straightforward.
How Stuff Works -- Electric Cars


A good getting started article on electric cars and electric car conversions.

Goes through an actual conversion as an example.

The Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington DC...


Build and EV:


Good information on converting a gas powered car to an EV.  Includes some material on selecting the right kind of 'donor" car, and on doing the actual conversion.
Its not as detailed as some of the materials below, but its a good overview of the whole process.

The site also has some current news on EV developments.

Jerry's Electric Car Conversion



Very well done personal site on converting a gas powered Mazda car to run on electricity. 
The description is very detailed and covers all the design and build issues encountered in detail.
If you want a feel for what's involved in a conversion, this is the one.

Electric Forum

ElectricForum LogoGood site with lots of information and news on electric cars and electric car conversions.

Electric car forum with lots of particiapation.

Building a Low Cost EV in 1 Week


This is a very professionally done converstion of a Daihatsu Charade done by a group of EV conversion friends in only 3 days!

The three videos give a good feel for what's involved in the full EV conversion process, and the site provides quite a bit of information in the form of drawings, and a whole raft of links to useful EV conversion information.

DIY Electric Car


DIY Electric Car is a very active forum and discussion sites that primarely deals with EV conversions.   Very hands on, lots of real projects. 
Looks like a very good place to learn the details on conversions and get expert advice.
EV Calculator from EVConvert


To my untrained eye, this looks like a very useful calculator for designing EV conversions.

It has a whole inventory of actual donor cars, motors, controllers, ...  You put a car together from these choices, and it then reports the performance for the car you assembled.
Build Your Own Electric Vehicle, Bob Brant, TAB Books, 1994


Quite a good book on converting an existing car or truck to  electric operation. 
My reaction after reading this was that it looks a lot more straightforward and practical than I thought it would be.  Part of this is due to the inherent simplicity of electric cars compared to gas engine cars. 
The book provides quite a bit of design information, as well as a detailed how-to on the actual conversion.
Chevy S10 Conversion from EV Help


Quite a bit of detail on converting a Chevy S10 pickup to an electric vehicle, as well as a couple years of operating history.

Other useful material on the site that is dedicated to helping with EV conversions.

Born to be Wired,
Kelly Davidson,
Home Power Magazine issue 122

How to get articles from Home Power ...

A nice detailed description of the conversion of a 2001 GMC pickup to full electric operation.

Covers the tradeoffs on range, battery capacity, vehicle choice, and provides a bit of detail on the actual conversion process.


Solar Van UK


An interesting and advanced EV conversion of a van. 
The conversion uses an AC motor and is power by Lithium batteries.

Picture at right shows battery installation under a raised floor.
A fair bit of detail on the design and construction (if you look for it).

EV Album



Descriptions of 1402 EV conversions ranging from skateboards, through bikes, to cars and trucks of all types -- even a few boats.

A page of technical data on each conversion, and in some cases, pointers to websites that give more detail.
Drive Electric -- Shockwave Motors...


Information on electric car conversions.
Solar Car Anatomy,
Nelson Kruschandl



Some fairly detailed material on designing a car that is powered solely from solar energy by onboard PV cells.

There is quite a bit more information on the site on electric cars and solar cars.

Electric Drag Racing


A fun and interesting video on the "White Zombie" -- a 1972 Datsun sedan converted into a 300 hp electric car.


SEE ALSO the suppliers list for EV conversions .. SEE ALSO the suppliers list for EV conversions ..
Gas Powered Scooters
(many more brands out there)

Articles on popularity of scooters:
AP Article


At 50 to 100 mpg scooter sales are picking up a lot.  Looks like fun.


Vespa "S" ...

Vetter Streamlined Motorcycles

The Last Vetter Fairing ...


A really interesting website by Craig Vetter on the development of efficient motorcycles through streamlining and on human powered vehicles.
His current project is a practical motorcycle that gets 120 mpg under real highway conditions and is comfortable to ride.

I really like the cardboard prototype.
CNG Powered Cars
New Federal Incentives Could Put CNG Vehicles on the Map

New Incentives for CNG cars...
CNG symbolIt looks like the federal government is getting serious about encouraging the development of  cars that run on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas).

They will be offering substantial subsidies/credits to both manufacturers and car buyers.  And, incentives for people providing CNG refueling stations.
The Honda Civic GX CNG Fueled Car

Honda website for the GX...
Honda CNG fueled CivicHonda currently makes the only available CNG fueled car.  It has a quite respectable 5.6 tons of CO2 emissions per year, gets 28 mpg (equivalent), and has yearly fuel costs lower than a Prius. 
You can find the details at

The new incentives for CNG cars should make this a much more attractive choice -- and make T. Boone Pickens very happy.
Green Car Reference Sites
These sites offer the best information I have been able to find on finding and buying a green, efficient car.

The Fuel Economy Guide

Fuel Economy Guide...

car fuel econ guideThis very handy guide provides the mpg numbers of basically all the cars available in the US -- now also includes electric cars.  Very handy.

The site provides more in depth data on each car including cabin volumes, emissions, range, fuel costs, ...
Fuel Economy dot Gov

NEW: The 2012 Fuel Economy Guide is out...

Very informative site.  Fuel economy data on all models.  Some info on the various green and fuel efficient technologies.

The "side-by-side" comparison tool is very handy for comparing mpg, cost, carbon, interior size, ... for multiple cars.

Hybrid Cars dot Com

Selecting an efficient car:

Excellent Gas Mileage Impact Calculator:


An excellent calculator to compare conventional cars to hybrids.  Give gasoline savings, and green house gas emissions reduction.

Sample: Ford Explorer to Toyota Prius

This site covers all cars, not just hybrids.

Note: recently changed the organization of their website, and it has become an easy to use tool to find the best cars within the class of car you are shopping for.

Plugin Cars


A list of all the current electric offerings...

A new website started by the folks who do that concentrates on electric and plug in hybrid cars.


Latest EPA Fuel Economy Guide



EPA fuel economy for all models.  A good way to compare cars on fuel use. 

Mid-size cars show a  range of 12 to 55 mpg!
Top 100 Green Cars

Top 100

"Green Center" home page



A quick way to browse the 100 most green cars, as rated by Environmental Defense.  The green rating depends mostly on fuel economy, but takes a number of other factors into account.

AutoBlog Green


The Auto Blog Green has become my favorite source for what's going on in the world of more fuel efficient and green cars.
Covers the whole range of developments, and is very timely with a high volume of new material.

Sign up for their email news to keep up on what's new in green cars.

Does It Pay to Drive a Hybrid?
Andy Kerr

Home Power Magazine article

How to get articles from Home Power ...

To download the spreadsheet:
HP Promised Files - Hybrid Spreadsheet
(this is not available right now as the reorgainize their site)

This is a very good Home Power article by Andy Kerr that goes over the factors that determine what the economic payoff for YOU will be in buying a hybrid car. 
You can download the spreadsheet that goes with the article to determine the payoff for buying a hybrid for your particular case.  
Most of the analyses out there on hybrid payoffs make a whole set of assumptions that are likely not right for you.


The Ecomodder site has user submitted projects ranging from simple tips and mods to some very ambitious projects.  Lots of detail on some of them.  Lots of interesting material.

"Welcome to, an automotive community where performance is judged by fuel economy rather than power and speed. EcoModders employ a combination of vehicle mods, driving techniques, and common sense to squeeze every penny out of the pumps."

PV and EV -- My Solar-Electric House and Car
Mark Jensen
Home Power Magazine Article, Issue 113

How to get articles from Home Power ...

Good Home Power article.  Mark describes the large PV system that runs his house, as well as keeping his Toyota RAV 4 EV (Electrical Vehicle) charged.
These EV's are no longer offered by Toyota, and after reading the article, one wonders why?
Green Car Congress


The latest news on fuel cells, hybrids, engines, BioDiesel, fuel efficient cars, ...

Well organized and up to date.

Efficient Cars You Can Buy Now
This is a small sampling of efficient cars now in production that stand out (to me) -- not by any means an exhaustive list -- just ones I've heard good things about or that seem interesting. 
See the Green Car Reference Sites section above for more complete information on selecting an efficient car.
See also the Concept Cars section for some near term offerings.

Third Generation Prius (2010)

This is a bit out of date in that the 4th generation Prius is due out prety soon -- rumored that it will get about 55 mpg.

Information on the new Prius...

First driving numbers...

Details on solar roof...

Impressions and numbers starting to come in on the 3rd Generation 2010 Prius.

My overall impression is that it has some useful improvements in functionality and performance, while at the same time providing a small improvement in fuel economy.

Note: we bought a 2010 gen 3 Prius to replace our gen 2, and have been quite happy with it.

Toyota Prius (Gen 1 and 2)

Prius Websites & Info:

Zillions of Prius Links:

The Prius with its near 50 mpg and very roomy interior for 4 adults, has been the most successful hybrid, and has basically put hybrids on the map.  Over 1 million of Prius produced.

I'm probably a bit biased on this, since we own one.
John's Prius Site


I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that John loves his Prius (all three of them).

This is an amazing collection of Prius material for all three generations.

Using your Prius (and other Hybrids) as backup generator to power you house

Very simple emergency power from Hybrid car...

From APRS ...

The ConVerdant Prius generator...

One from off the shelf parts...

And another...

prius for emergency power outagesSome schemes that allow your Prius to power your house during power outages.

More out there if you Google for it.

10,000 Miles in the Jelly Bean car (now over 100K miles)


(Updated 7/2007 -- 40,000 miles and 100F)
(Updated 5/31, 2008 -- 55,000 miles)
(Updated 5/10, 2010 -- 94,000 miles)
(Updated 9/2, 2010 -- 100K miles and $10,400 in savings)
October, 2010 -- The final update...

A quick report on life with our Prius.

In our attempt to cut our total energy use and CO2 emissions in Half of the 24 energy saving projects we did, the Prius was the single most effective project.


Costs of Owning hybrids vs non-hybrids over 100,000 miles


These are my thoughts and some comparision data on the cost of owning a hybrid vs a non-hybrid car (or SUV) over a 100,000 mile period.  It compares various 2010 offerings and includes both initial price and fuel costs over the first 100,000 miles.

One result -- driving an efficient vehicle instead of a full sized SUV or truck can save $30,000 and neark 50 tons of CO2 emissions over 100,000 miles.

Guy's Chevy Volt
This is Guy Marsden's page on his solar charged Chevy Volt.

Lots of in depth information on the Volt.

Guy tracks EV vs gas operation and also the fraction of the Volt charging that is done with their own PV array -- all very interesting.

If you have not seen Guy's site, there is a ton of good renewable energy project information on it.
GM Volt Electric Car

A site dedicated to ongoing news on the Chevy Volt:

chevy voltThe Chevy Volt is an electric car with an all electric drive train, but has an onboard IC engine to charge the batteries on longer trips. 
It has a range of about 40 miles before the gas engine is needed.   The charge for the first 40 miles comes from the grid.
Price is about $40K, but it qualifies for an about $8K rebate.

Interesting article on Chevy Volt battery longevity ...
Chevy Volt Owner Says He'll Soon Be Driving For 'Free'...

pv charged chevy voltThis is an interesting and detailed story about Jason King's PV charged ChevyChevy volt Volt.  Jason lives in Maui where both gasoline and electricity are expensive.

He is off-grid and has added enough capacity to his PV system so that he can charge the Volt using his own PV for his daily drive.  

Quite and interesting story.
New Honda Insight Hybrid 

A good detailed description of the new Honda Insight from AutoBlogGreen: ...


This is Honda's answer to the success of the Prius.

This is a designed from the ground up hybrid that is that Honda is expecting to capture a lot of the Hybrid market -- starting price is said to be $18,500.

The link gives the first detailed description of the car, including a road test -- looks very promising.

Ford Fusion Hybrid ...


The just out Ford Fusion Hybrid gets 41 city/36 hwy. 

The Fusion hybrid is reported by reviewers to be roomy, comfortable, and quiet.

Ford Fusion hybrid tops 80 mpg, 1,000 miles with 1/3 of a tank left...

Honda Civic Natural Gas

Honda GX (runs on NG) ...


Honda makes a natural gas version of the Civic that gets good mileage, is very clean, and costs very little to operate (NG is much cheaper than gas).

EPA mileage 24/36 equivalent on NG -- the price of NG is equivalent to gasoline at $1.50 a gallon.  Very low emissions.  Range is only 170 miles, and CNG tank cuts trunk volume in half.

Honda Civic Hybrid

Civic Hybrid ...

Wikipedia entry ...

EPA 40/45 mpg.
Well proven hybrid package.

A new Honda hybrid design is due out soon -- this will be a new model that is designed as hybrid from the ground up (like the Prius).
Fiat 500 -- efficient, clean, safe, cheap, and cute
Green Car Congress on the 500 ...

AutoblogGreen on the 500 ...

Fun story on another Fiat...

Potential Diesel  Model...

Fiat 500 gets 50 mpg, 5 star rating on Europe's crash test.

Cost 10,000 Euros.

Voted "European Car of the year 2008".

Available in the US? I suppose not.

Honda Fit

Wikipedia entry ...

Some info on the 2009 model -- now available:

EPA mileage of 28/34 with a price around $13K.
Gets very good reviews from numerous places.

"agile handling, zippy performance, and impressive practicality. A four-door hatchback, the Fit is amazingly comfortable, given its dimensions, even in the back seats."

Ford Focus

Ford Focus ...

Also, the Ford Fusion Hybrid...  41 mpg

EPA mileage 24/35.
Gets good reviews. -- Plug in Hybrids

A video from Science Channel on Plug In Prius:
(for high bandwidth connection)

Update on the plug in Prius from Toyota...

A group working on developing the plug in hybrid -- a hybrid that plugs into the grid (or PV) at night to extend its range on batteries. 
The video gives a good overall description of the concept. 

A question one might ask is do plug in hybrids result in lower GHG emissions when you include the GHGs from the grid electricity used to charge them?
Here is a report:
To me, it looks like the answer is that there is no real emissions saving until we get a cleaner electric grid.  Of course, you can always charge from your own solar electric rig.

Here is another report on the same subject from Eric Williams at Duke University ...

The Obivo "Trybrid"

GizMag Article


Small Brazilian car that may be imported to US in 2006.  Runs on gasoline or alcohol with electric hybrid drive.
High performance and  prices starting at $14K are claimed.
ZENN (Zero Emissions - No Noise Car)

2015 - Zenn is no longer making electric cars


More pictures of the Zenn

Zero emission, low speed electric car.

Top speed 25mph, range 40 miles.  Driven by 72 VDC, 5hp electric motor.

More pictures of the Zenn taken at the Livingston, MT Sustainability Fair

The "It" electric car

A low speed electric car with a range of about 30 miles.   Operates for about $7 per month.
The Bruce Weiner MicroCar Museum


Fascinating collection of Micro Cars. These very small and efficient cars were developed in Europe in the rebuilding times after world war II.  

Many on display in Madison, GA
Peel P-50 -- World's Smallest Car


A very amusing BBC video about the Peel P-50 -- the world's smallest car.

50 cc engine, 130 lbs empty weight, 3 wheels, 1 door, no reverse.

1989 Geo Metro

A nice one ...

Comments on the 3 Geo Metros he owned from Chris...

I've seen several comments in discussion forums in which people recalled getting 50mpg in Geo Metros nearly 20 years ago, and wondering why we seem to be having such a hard time doing as well today. 

I tried looking up info on the Metro -- these are the best of the links I found.  Its kind of a mixed story.    I'd be interested in hearing from Metro owners.

From Jonathan:

"I owned a Geo Metro with the 1.0L 3 cylinder engine, and 5 speed manual transmission.  I think it was a 92 model.  It didn’t have much pep and couldn’t go over 80 mph floored.  It did get 48-49 mpg consistently."  

From Jerimiah:
"I drive a 1993 Metro that I modified a bit. I just broke my previous records for fuel economy with it; my last tank of fuel was 648 miles on 9.75 gallons - 66.5 mpg. That was 55 mph interstate driving
Full details on Jerimiah's Metro and its mods...
Clean Diesels Vs Hybrids...


The link provides help in comparing diesels to hybrids or pure gasoline cars from the point of view of mpg, greenhouse gas pollution, and air pollution.

Bottom line is that while diesels have improved on all counts, they are still significantly worse in greenhouse gas and general air pollution. 

Toxic Batteries in Hybrids?


Many of the efficient cars listed in the section are hybrids.  The hybrids use batteries with some toxic material content -- is this going to cause an environmental problem?
Concept Cars and Prototypes
Mitsubishi Concept PX-MEIV... PC-MEIVAn interesting concept plug in hybrid that offers very good efficiency and 4WD.
VW XL1 Concept Car

Overview on AutoBlogGreen...


Some nice pictures on AutoBlog...


The Volkswagon XL1 concept car is one of the VW one-liter series --cars intended to go 100km on 1 liter of gas (about 260 mpg!).

The car seats 2 side by side, uses a carbon fiber body and many other advanced features to keep the weight down to 1750 lbs.  It has a drag coefficient of only 0.186 and a frontal area about 2/3rds of a VW Golf. 
It is also a plug in hybrid with an electric range 22 miles.


Toyota FT-Bh 112 mpg Concept Car
Toyota FT-BhAn article from on the Toyota concept car the FT-Bh.  The car uses a new design Atkinson cycle engine and Li batteries with low weight achieved through careful use of materials.
New Honda Hybrid ...

No longer a concept -- you can buy one at your neighborhood Honda dealer

This is Honda's answer to the success of the Prius.

This is a designed from the ground up hybrid that is that Honda is expecting to capture a lot of the Hybrid market -- starting price is said to be $18,500.

Toyota 1/x Concept Car


This is a concept car showing what Toyota thinks it can achieve when a hybrid power plant is combined a very light weight design in the future.
It uses carbon composite construction and weighs only 926 lbs!    The gas engine is only 500 cc.  Same interior space as a Prius.  Estimated EPA mileage is just over 90 mpg. 
Batteries can also be charged from grid.
Single Seat Volkswagen

US News Article...


This single seat car that VW is working on would get 250+ mpg, top speed 75 mph.  It can travel over 400 miles on its 1.7 gallon fuel tank!  Weighs 660 lbs.
This car is powered by gasoline only, and its 250 mpg is not one of the phony plug in hybrid mileage ratings that does not include fossil fuel burned to make electricity -- its an honest 250 mpg -- amazing.
Said to be ready to go on sale in Shanghai in 2010. 
Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Car -- drive report ...

This is quite a detailed report on the Honda Hydrogen fuel cell car and a drive in it from AutoblogGreen.

Honda Clarity Website:

NEW Home Energy Station -- make Hydrogen at your home for the FCX...

This is Honda's very serious go at a fuel cell car.  It is designed from the ground up as a fuel cell car.  Plans call for introducing the car in limited numbers as lease vehicles in southern California in 2008.

The specs make it sound like a practical, usable, high efficiency car -- the biggest problem being the availability of Hydrogen (and cost?).

The "Home Energy Station" is interesting -- A home station that makes Hydrogen from NG, and uses waste heat for space heating.  Its puzzling that this only achieves a "30% reduction in CO2 compared to home with IC engine car and electric heat"?  Seems like it should do much better?
Toyota iQ City Car ...

From Tree Hugger ...

Crash test...

Toyota's innovative iQ city car carries 3 adults and a child.  Very compact (10ft long). Presumably very good efficiency -- maybe 54 mpg in the European rating.
More details coming in early Oct of 08 at Paris auto show.
To be in production by late 2008.  Toyota has talked about a hybrid model later.
VW Polo Diesel -- 71 mpg, 87 g/km CO2



All new Polo concept car that is due to come to US in couple years.
Claim is 71 mpg and 87 gm/km of CO2.

This would make the most fuel efficient 5 passenger car on the road.

Electric MINI   -- The MINI E


On AutoBlogGreen:
Introduction ...
Powerplant ...

BMW is building 500 of these electrically powered MINIs.
They should be little hot rods with the equivalent of 200 peak HP.  Powered by Li batteries and an advanced AC power plant -- said to have about 150 mile range.
They will be leased ($850?/mo) in selected locations, including east coast and west coast cities.  BMW is doing this to get real world experience with electric vehicles.
Saturn Vue Green Line will offer 2-mode and plug-in hybrid technology


GM has committed to introducing several new hybrid cars over the next couple years, including the first production plug-in hybrid.  The plug-in will have an about 10 mile all electric range.
Finally some signs of life from Detroit.
Prius PlugIn Hybrid



Toyota announces a plug-in hybrid version of the Prius.

Specs are a bit underwhelming (10 mile electric range), but maybe helpful to some.

A question one might ask is do plug in hybrids result in lower GHG emissions when you include the GHGs from the grid electricity used to charge them?
Here is a report:
To me, it looks like the answer is that there is no real emissions saving until we get a cleaner electric grid.  Of course, you can always charge from your own solar electric rig.

Think Electric Car

The Think went out of business in 2011

To be offered in the US:

A drive in the Think...

Larger, faster 2011 model:
The Energy Blog ...

The sleek version: ...

A Norwegian electric city car -- soon to be in production.
2 or 4 person capacity, air bags, heating and AC, power steering, regenerative braking, ABS, ...
Range 120 miles, top speed 62 mph, weight 3000 lbs, Li-ion or sodium batteries.
The company also has some unique ideas on how the car and batteries are to be sold and marketed.
The 2nd two links are for follow on models.
Venture Tilting Two Seater

"Flying the Road"


This three wheeler leans into turns depending on the lateral g force.  The back two wheels and power plant stay flat on the ground as the rest of the body tilts.  It is to be offered as both a pure EV as well as a series hybrid.  100 mph top speed.  EV has 120 mile range.  Target price is around $20K.

I have to say that the video makes it appear to be a very fun car to drive.  Kind of a cross between a motorcycle and a car with an outstanding view of the scenery.  

Diesel-Hybrid Pickup Coming to US,
From Treehugger

Mahindra has dropped this pickup for the US



A diesel-hybrid pickup to be introduced in 2010 with the potential for 40 mpg.
From Mahindra.

Not sure I quite believe this, but their tractors have a good reputation.

The AIRPod Compressed Air Three Wheeler...



air pod compressed air carA one person three wheel car that runs on compressed air from ZeroPollutionMotors.

Designed for urban use. Target price is about $8000.



Wind-to-Wheel Energy Assessment,
Patrick Mazza and Roel Hammerschlag,
Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment

Wind-to-Wheel paper...


This very interesting paper compares the range achieved by identical cars using 4 energy storage technologies -- battery, compressed air, and Hydrogen powered fuel cells.

Batteries appear to be the clear winner from this point of view.

(Thanks to Ron for finding this)
Determining EPA fuel rating for plug-ins is difficult

New York Times Article ...

New York Times article on what the EPA is going through to try to come up with the EPA gas mileage that will go on the window sticker for the Chevy Volt.

Complex because the Volt runs 40 miles on electricity in the batteries with no gasoline use, and after that runs on electricity produced by the onboard IC engine.
I would also like to see CO2 emissions on the window sticker, including the CO2 from the grid electricity used for battery charging.

MIT's pint-sized car engine promises high efficiency, lost cost  -- Ethanol empowers little engine that could

Massachusetts Institute of Technology news office...


Article from MIT Tech Talk on a gasoline engine that uses direct injection of Ethanol to suppress knocking under high power demand situations.

Claim is that this allows a much smaller, higher compression, turbo charged gas engine to power a car, with injection of Ethanol only when high power is demanded.  The claim is that this could reduce fuel consumption by 30%, which is comparable to hybrids, but at a much lower cost.

Scuderi Engine -- Potential air hybrid...


A new engine design that separates compression and combustion into separate paired cylinders.  This may offer some advantages in efficiency (claim is that a 30mpg car becomes 40 mpg car), and the possibility of a compressed air hybrid at a lower cost.
Israeli Microturbine-Based Range-Extended Electric Vehicle
From the Green  Car Congress


An Israeli start-up is working on a range extended electric vehicle (REEV) that uses a small gas turbine for charging the batteries.
This type of vehicle is electrically propelled, but an onboard generator is used when the batteries can't provide enough range -- this means no need for a lengthy charging stop on long trips.
It is claimed that the gas turbine may use as little as half the fuel of an IC engine for battery charging.
PML's In-Wheel Motor, Plug-in Hybrid Mini



A new hybrid technology testbed.
Motors in wheels, 21 KWH lithium-polymer battery pack, 200 mile range as electric, 930 mile range as gas hybrid.  Zero to 62 mph in 5 seconds.  250cc engine.  Traction control and anti-skid built into each wheel.  80 mpg?
The UltraCommuter -- 500 mpg 2 seat car,
University of Queensland


Description from Green Car Congress

A 2 seat "UltraCommuter" car from the University of Queensland.  It is a hybrid, and has 2.5 m^2 of PV panels as well as a compressed natural gas tank that runs a 10KW generator to provide power when the batteries have been exhausted.  Claimed fuel economy is 0.44 liters per 100km (535 mpg).
“This is a real car designed for today’s Australian conditions using current technology,” he said. “Our goal is to have a fully operational prototype on the road later this year.”
Taiwan Solar Car Prototype ...


Solar powered, Lithium Polymer battery prototype.  Weighs 250 kg, top speed 7 km/hr, and 3 hr run time.
"The battery can be charged with just a few hours sunlight and can power the car for three hours."

Expected to be available "this year".
UBC 3100 mpg car


Winner (by a wide margin) of the SAE Super Mileage Contest  3145 miles per US gallon!

 “We achieved this level of efficiency by optimizing many aspects of the vehicle design, including: aerodynamics, light-weight construction, a small displacement engine (54 cc), and conservative driving habits,” says Team Captain Kevin Li.

Peugeot -- 69 mpg Diesel Hybrid

NEW update on the Peugeot diesel hybrid: ...

Fairly detailed article on prototype Peugeot hybrid diesel.
Sounds great, but unfortunately not available until 2010.
Loremo debuts 150 mpg concept car in Geneva

From AutoBlog

Loremo Concept Car


Up to 150 mpg on this low drag, light weight diesel.  Price projected to be $13K to $18K.  Production not scheduled to start until 2009.
Bob -- A Motor Home for the Greenhouse Gas Age?...

I've often wondered if there is a way for people who like RVing to be able to keep doing it in a way that is responsible given our greenhouse gas and climate change problems.  Well, here is one concept that might work.  Not much detail, but an interesting idea.

Also, have a look at our fuel efficient ProMaster van conversion camper...

The X-Prize Foundation is offering a 10 million dollar prize for practical 100 mpg car.
Summary of Auto X-Prize material on Autoblog Green

X-Prize article and video summary ...

Current standings...


The Auto X-Prize offers a $10 million prize for a car that can get 100 mpg.  The emphasis is on a practical car that meets real consumer needs, and meets current safety requirements -- not on concept vehicles.

This summary of Auto X-Prize material on Autoblog Green provides a lot of useful material.
Edison's Very Light Car


One of only two entries remaining in the 4 passenger, 200 mile range mainstream class.  The car is 800 lbs, 255 cc IC engine, 100+ mph, 1.2 lateral g on the skid pad, and 600+ mile range.

The website brings up a number of interesting issues, including why the car is not a hybrid.  There is also a good blog attached to the site.

Kinetic Vehicles X-Prize 100 mpg entry


This site describes the entry from Kinetic Vehicles for the X-Prize.  It is a very low cost and simple approach using mostly off the shelf parts.  Their aim is a simple, practical, and inexpensive car that achieves 100 mpg.
In contrast to most of the X-Prize entries this is an "open source" entry with all of the details on how they are going about the design/build available on the website -- right down to detailed parts lists.
Commercial Vehicles
GTB-40 Hybrid Bus


The GTB40 buses from Fisher Coach are about twice as fuel efficient as conventional buses.  There is an all electric version powered by batteries, and a range extended version that uses a CNG powered generator to charge batteries.  The busses are about 1/3 rd lighter than conventional buses due to a stainless steel unibody design.
Reducing Drag on Big Trucks

From Alternate Energy News...

This group of universities, manufacturers, and shippers is working on improving the aerodynamics of large trucks with the aim of reducing fuel consumption by 20%.

They have come up with a number of practical looking drag reducing changes.  The boat tail fairing alone (pictured to left) reduces drag by 7.5%.
These changes save both fuel and emissions -- seems like a deal that truckers could get behind and without a lot of whining.

Mercedes-Benz Actros -- an efficient big rig


This 40 ton Mercedes Benz Actros  big rig managed 12.4 mpg with a 25 ton payload.  This was on a test track at 50 mph, but still pretty amazing considering that a lot of these big rigs only get 5 mpg.

Lots of interesting material on factors effecting big rig mpg and CO2 emissions in the article.

London Plans for Hybrid Bus Expansion


London plans to convert its entire fleet of 8000 buses to diesel hybrids by 2012.  The diesel hybrids generate 40% less CO2.
Hybrid School Buses

Hybrid Drivetrain Maker:


"11 states are first in the nation to receive hybrid school buses"

"40 percent increase in fuel efficiency"

So, maybe city buses, garbage trucks, ... are coming?

HST (Highly Sophisticated Transporter)
Kioko Muthui

HST brochure/specs... (4.5MB pdf)


A. K. Muthui's concept for a cost and fuel efficient, high capacity, long haul highway truck.

"With reference to contemporary trucks, the HST would feature extraordinary fuel efficiency, a significantly improved driving experience, a higher level of active and passive safety, and enhanced environmental and infrastructural considerations."

Efficient Driving
GasSavers -- Helping you Save at the Pump


The "Top Ten Vehicles" section is quite interesting.

An active forum on saving gas:

"GasSavers is a community of fuel economy enthusiasts. Our typical member does not own a hybrid. Our typical member is like you: With a normal vehicle and a desire to increase the fuel economy of that vehicle."

Thanks to Ben at for suggesting this.)


CBS hypermiling story ...

Hypermiling website:

Hypermiling is a set of driving techniques that can be used on any car to dramatically increase gas mileage.

The CBS video covers an "ordinary" driver and a hypermiling driver using identical cars on a trip from Chicago to New York.

Modifications to Improve Efficiency
Choosing Low Rolling Resistance Tires


Good article at on low rolling resistance tires and how to choose a good one.  Includes real world testing. -- Plug in Hybrids

A video from Science Channel on Plug In Prius:
(for high bandwidth connection)

Update on the plug in Prius from Toyota...

A group working on developing the plug in hybrid -- a hybrid that plugs into the grid (or PV) at night to extend its range on batteries. 
The video gives a good overall description of the concept. 

A question one might ask is do plug in hybrids result in lower GHG emissions when you include the GHGs from the grid electricity used to charge them?
Here is a report:
To me, it looks like the answer is that there is no real emissions saving until we get a cleaner electric grid.  Of course, you can always charge from your own solar electric rig.

PV Enhanced Prius

Lapp Renewables Ltd.
(this link may have gone dead)

The conventional wisdom is that cars use energy at such a high rate that tacking a few PV panels on top would not be of much use.
Lapp has found that if you start with an efficient car, that you can indeed make a worthwhile improvement.  The (admittedly non-optimum) prototype achieves a 10% improvement in mileage, and the potential for an about 33% improvement is discussed.
Rebuilding a Hybrid Vehicle Battery Pack,
Michael Lamb


How to get articles from Home Power ...


Home Power Magazine article, issue 137, June 2010.
Michael gives a very detailed how-to on refurbishing the NiMH battery pack from a Honda Civic hybrid.

While this is not for everyone, it appears to be surprisingly doable -- if a bit time consuming. 
The incentive is that the cost of a new battery pack is $3000+ and the total cost of the rebuild (including buying a charger) was $380.
Car Fuel Conversions
EERE Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center


New EERE website to bring together resources on alternative fuel vehicles.

Includes basic info on alternative fuels, index to publications, data on alternative fuel use, incentives programs by state, and lots of alternative fuel resources (although not a lot of the best ones from the point of view of Do-It-yourselfers).
VW Jetta Conversion to Vegetable Oil



Jeff describes his conversion of a 1998 VW Jetta Diesel to burn straight vegetable oil.  VERY detailed.


Thank you Jeff!

Mike Pelly's biodiesel method

Part of the Journey to Forever site:

Nice clear explanation of how to make biodiesel, and some of the chemistry behind it.

The Journey To Forever site is very interesting, with a good collection of information on biofuels and many other fine projects.

Do-It-Yourself Automotive LPG Conversion

So, is an LPG conversion a way to 1) save some money, 2) reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- all without spending a lot of money on a new car, an expensive conversion, or the hassle of making Biodiesel?  Any thoughts on this? -- Gary

Pretty detailed account of conversion of a Rambler to burn LPG.  Includes some of the mechanics of the conversion, plus driving experiences, finding fuel, ...

LPG is a lower carbon fuel than gasoline, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions -- and maybe save you some money.  It is also appears to be a relatively simple conversion, and fuel is widely available.

See Also -- the BioFuels page  

Electra One Solar


Electra solar airplanePC-Aero makes the Electra One Solar, a single passenger, solar powered, carbon composite airplane with a maximum range of 1000 km and a cruise speed of 140 km/hr (88 mph).

About half of the power in flight comes from solar cells mounted on the surface of the airplane. Empty weight is only 100 kg.

Pretty amazing.

Aeros airships...


 From Av Week...

Something like a tenth of our oil goes into aircraft transporting people and cargo.  Maybe its time to think about aircraft that use less fuel?
Solar/Wind Boats
Electric Boats


Jim Kerr's extensive collection of information on electric and solar electric boats.  Lots of good, first hand information on this site.

Introduction to electric boats and solar boats, and links to a number references, suppliers, clubs, ... for electric boat information.

The Biggest Solar Electric Boat this Side of the Mississippi

Steve Cooper

How to get articles from Home Power ...

Home Power Magazine article, issue 57

Interesting article on using solar PV to provide auxiliary power on a 30 ft sailboat.

Econogics Electric Boat Page


Information on electric and solar charged boats, plus an extensive set of links.



Kite Sails for Boats Reduce Fuel Use...


Sky sails are basically large kites that can be used to reduce the fuel consumption of ships.

Under good conditions, fuel savings can be 50%, with annual savings of 10 t 30%.

Operation is largely autotmatic.


Electric Boats and Plans
The Loon Solar Electric Boat

YouTube Video on the Loon Solar Boat...


This is a commercially available overnight cruiser for a family.  It has an 8 hour cruising range at full charge. 

PV panels on the overhead sun shade provide about half the power for a full day cruise.

Duckworks Electron


An interesting write-up on this 18 ft Cuddy Cabin Electric Cruiser from Duckworks.
Chesapeake Marine Designs

Several electrical and hybrid models from 15 ft to 40 ft.
Glen-L Plans and Kits

Plans for several electric/solar boats.
Efficient and Solar RVs, Campers, and Trailers
Small, Simple, Efficient RAM ProMaster DIY Camper Van Conversion

diy efficient camper van conversionThis is our in progress project to convert a RAM ProMaster cargo van into a smal, simple, and efficient camper van.

This is a work in progess, and any comments or suggestions for improvements would be appreciated.

All the details here...


DIY Composting Toilet for RV...

DIY RV composting toiletThis is Gordon's homemade composting toilet for his RV. It is simple to build and only costs a few dollars.

Gordon passes on detailed instructions on how to build and use the composting toilet, and observations from their many years of using this and other composting toilets.




Section on Composting Toilets for RV's... Using Composting Toilet for tiny homeA new section covering DIY and commercial composting toilets for RV or other small spaces. Lots of good detail.
Solar Powered DIY RV Evaporative Cooler...

DIY RV evaporative coolerTom's home made evaporative cooler for his RV.

The system uses fans to blow outside air through a porous wet cooling pad. Evaporation of water in the cooling pad cools the air, dropping the temperature by as much as 25 F.

The compact unit contains a water reservoir, water pump, aspen cooling pad, and circulation fans as shown in the diagram.

It runs on 12 volt DC power and is powered by the RV's solar panel and battery -- pretty cool :)

Tom uses this to cool his RV without having to use grid power, but it could be adapted for all sorts of cooling applications, including emergency cooling when the power grid is down.

Solar Trailers and Mobile Workshops

Portable Solar-Powered Workshop

Jon Haeme

Search Home Power article archives for issue 47, and order it.

Home Power Magazine article, issue 47

Article on a complete, PV powered, workshop in a trailer.

90 Solar Powered Portable Workshop

Search Home Power article archives for issue 90, and order it.


Home Power Magazine article, issue 90

Interesting article on a portable, PV powered workshop in a trailer.  Uses one 120W PV panel, 2 Trojan T105 batteries, and an 1800 watt inverter to power a wide variety of tools.  System cost $2600.

Solar Tractors and Mowers

Solar Garden Helper Machine

Details on the solar garden helper machine...


solar garden helper machineThis is Randy's pretty amazing solar powered garden helper machine.  It makes chores like planting, weeding, and picking a lot easier on the back.

Its made from 1 inch steel tubing bent and welded by Randy, and uses a geared down drive from an electric wheelchair.  Its electrically powered with 4 golfcart batteries that are charged with two 80 watt onboard PV panels.

Details on the solar garden helper machine...

Our Elec-Trak Tractor Project

-- Using an Elec-Trak to Power Your House in Power Outages,

-- Charging the Elec-Trak from a Grid-Tie PV System


All the details...

Elec-This is a very detailed account of our project to recondition an Elec-Trak tractor.  All the fascinating details on scraping and painting, ...

It also covers using the Elec-Trak battery pack to power the house in emergencies AND a way to charge the pack from our grid-tied PV array.

All the details...

ElecTrack electric tractors ....
Mark Frerking


Pictures of Mark's latest Elec-Track project...


This article by Mark describes in detail a line of electric tractors and riding mowers offered by GE and others a few years ago.
These are fully electric, use no gas, and make no pollution.  They could even be charged with a PV array.  The fact that many made back in the 70's are still working is testament to their rugged design and construction.
It boggles the mind that nothing equivalent is offered today. 
Thanks very much to Mark for providing this.
My Elec-Traks
My ElecTrak tractorsThis is just an amazing collection of Elec-Trak tractors, mowers and attachments  restored to beautiful shape by George. 

Also, manuals, brochures, information, and history on the ElecTrack tractors.
The Elec-Trak Owners Club
ElecTrak electric tractor owners clubLots of helpful information and a place to get questions answered on the Elec-Trak garden tractors.
A sampling of commercial electric riding mowers

Some new commercial electric riding mowers are becoming available.


(Thanks to Mark for suggesting these)

The Hustler Zeon Zero Turn Riding Mower...
Ariens Amp Riding Mower...
(Ariens also has an electric snow blower)


zero turn solar mower Green Mowchine...
Go GreenWorld Yard Cruise...



Converting an Allis-Chalmers "G" Cultivating Tractor into an Electric Vehicle,
A USDA Funded SARE Grant


Detailed instructions on converting an Allis-Chalmers "G" tractor for solar electric operation.
Covers both the tractor conversion and a charging station.  The author uses two of these converted tractors day in and day out.
Lonnie's Electric Walk Behind Tractor
walk behind electric tractorLonnie sells plans for his design for a walk behind electric tractor.  The tractor appears to be quite flexible  and does jobs like garden plowing and cultivating, snow plowing, mowing, moving dirt etc. with the front loader, and general hauling stuff around.  The tractor batteries and inverter also serve as an emergency or portable source of 100 volt AC power. 
Lonnie sells a set of detailed plans for $80.  There are a number of videos on his site showing the tractor in action.  I'd like to hear from anyone who uses the plans to build a tractor.

David Goes Electric

Bruce Johnson

How to get articles from Home Power ...
Search for Issue 53

Home Power Magazine article, issue 53

Interesting article on converting a walk behind gas tractor to electric power on a budget.


Lee's Solar Lawn Mower

Details ...

Lee adds a solar charger...

Update -- Lee adds self-propulsion...

Lee describes in detail how he converted a Troy-Bilt gas mower deck into a clean, battery power, electric lawn mower that will soon be solar charged.

Converting A Gas Lawn Mower To Solar Charged Electric Power, Guy Marsden

Potential cheap source for electric lawnmower motors ...  (updated September 16, 2008)

Guy shows in detail how he converted a noisy polluting gas mower into a solar charged electric mower.

Guy's website has a wealth of information on solar space and water heating, conservation, ...
All projects described in excellent how-to detail.

The EcoRider -- Converting a Gas Riding Mower to Electric

To see all the blog entries on the conversion, search for "EcoRider"

See also this EcoRenovator forum entry...

This is an ongoing conversion of a riding gas mower to and electric mower.


Solar Charged Lawnmower

Potential cheap source for electric lawnmower motors ...


Appropedia article describes converting a gas mower to a solar electric motor.

Provides some useful information for any project that needs a fair amount of power (1 hp) run from solar electricity.

Solaris Solar Mower
This is a commercially available electric mower with an option for solar charging.  The mower is a 19 or 21 inch, self propelled, and is said to be capable of 7000+ sqft on one charge.
Available mostly in Canada, but may be more available in the US soon -- about $500 to $600
Dan has purchased one, and will be reporting on how it works out (good so far) on Dan's site ...    

Gary Updated September 7, 2008