Have you seen electric cars covered with solar panels? If you were to convert a conventional automobile to run on electric power, should you include some Photovoltaic (PV) panels on the EV to charge the battery bank?

I’ve came across this question in a forum recently and I thought of doing some research on it.

Here’s the fact, a normal sedan homemade EV needs approximately 300 watt hour or Wh to move 1 mile on a flat surface. There are a few factors which will affect this figure such as tire pressure, road resistance, road gradient, wind drag etc. But let’s take that as an example for now.

In order for you to drive 1 mile on your electric car, it will use up 300 Wh of electricity from your battery bank.

Now, how much power can a solar panel generate? Let’s take one of those common 4 feet PV panels used for home solar system. 1 piece of the panel can pretty much cover the entire roof of your EV.

On a bright sunny day, the said solar panel is capable of generating 150 watt-hour of electricity. Meaning, if you were to park your EV under the sun, it will charge your battery bank with 150 Wh after 1 hour.

If you need 300 Wh, you have to install 2 pieces of 4 feet solar panel on your EV and leave it under the sun for 1 hour. After that, you would have top up the battery bank with enough power from the solar panels to travel 1 mile!

If you are planning to install solar panel on your DIY electric car, don’t bother. The power produced from the panel is too small for your EV, unless you are planning to park your electric car under the sun for days.

The fact is, an electric car is an efficient vehicle, but it does consume large amount of electricity. To replenish the battery bank, it is best to park your EV in the garage and recharge the batteries using the power outlet going through the charge controller.

Homemade Electric Car Guide

Do you want to know how to convert a conventional car to run on pure electricity? If you do, check out Peter Millward’s Electricity4Gas e-book.

Millward is an environmental activist and he has been teaching people step by step how to retrofit a car to use electricity for more than 10 years. Click on the link below for more information.

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