View Full Version : Solar Trike Project

11 August 2012, 0755
Mor'n Elmotos
Am posting some pics of this trike project I've decided to torture myself with. Big Project! Now that I have a rolling chassis, I'm into the next stages of the design. The chassis took a lot of planning, but it's 110 lbs as it sits now and light weight is one of the prime objectives.
What I'm looking for is input regarding the body/solar array shell. The first is the red front end with the solar back shell, but another design I'm been thinking off is where both front and rear shells are solar panels and they could be lifted off and connected to provide a small shelter - with some kind of high tech fabric sides. What I have in mind for this is a small solar vehicle that could be used in developing countries needing power in remote regions, or for an emergency power/shelter in disaster zones. I know this is pretty far out and not the usual elmoto project, but I'm hoping to get some input. The thumbnails are pretty rough but I was hoping it gets the idea across. 348534863487

11 August 2012, 1316
This is AWE! SOME! Thanks for the post, Red!

25 August 2012, 0225
Cool idea. I have actually been brainstorming about something similar. Since you mentioned transport and power in developing countries, why not put a patient carrier on it and create an ambulance for people who don't have transport to medical facilities? This has been done a lot with bicycle ambulances which make a lot of sense because they are so inexpensive. Adding electric offroad capability I think could really improve access in places like Namibia with hilly and sandy terrain that a bicycle can't be used for. A company called eRanger also makes a motorcycle sidecar ambulance for developing countries, maybe something could be developed for a similar price ($6000), but electric.

The solar panels could be also used as a canopy to shade the sun and rain from the passenger like this: http://www.yankodesign.com/2008/07/10/put-the-pedal-to-the-medical/

The main issue I see however is going to be cost. Most places that need such a transport device aren't going to be able to pay for expensive batteries and solar panels. Do you think that a solar panel alone would be sufficient to keep the batteries charged for places without grid power?

To reduce cost and to make it possible to be built and fixed locally, what if bamboo was used for the main frame? Similar to http://www.bamboosero.com or http://www.bamboobike.org

25 August 2012, 1052
Thanks for the comments Yeaw.
Costs are certainly a problem with any technology. The trike that I'm building now is strictly meant as a prototype test vehicle, but it will be road certified so I don't intend on building it so light it's a matter of not if, but when it will break. I'm not really inventing anything, just putting current technology together in a novel way. I'm going to have around 1/2 a kw on the rear panel using good grade mono cells, which should charge the 48 volt pack without any difficulty under normal in-town use, and in full sun it should be able to propel the vehicle down the road on solar alone at a yet to be determined speed. It's going to be pretty light even compared to University style solar race cars - around 300 lbs. Most solar racing cars are 350 to 800 lbs. but usually have more than 1 kw of high quality solar cells.
I've seen the bamboo bikes and later versions of this trike can expand the concept into different material use, but for now its aluminum and carbon fiber.
I'm now seeking corporate sponsorship in order to help expose the finished prototype to the largest number of people.