Student builds photovoltaic electric trike for under $600
If the US$6,000 price tag of the BugE trike is still beyond your price range, then you may be interested in the sub-US$600 Solaron three-wheeler designed by Pakistan's Farrukh Khan. The DIY project is not (yet) available commercially, but the young inventor has posted detailed build instructions online for those who want to knock up their own variants.
Designed and built in just 18 days at the University of Engineering and Technology Lahore in Pakistan, Khan's 7 x 3.5 x 4.5 ft (2.13 x 1.06 x 1.37 meter), 132 pound (60 kg) Solaron low-rider features a custom built, t-shaped aluminum framework at the front of the vehicle, and the back part of an old bicycle frame at the rear, joined just behind the seating area to shock absorbers. The reverse three-wheeler - with two wheels at the front and one at the rear - also has a 40 watt photovoltaic canopy above the rider that charges the onboard 12v/80Ah dry cell solar battery.
The battery powers a 24v electric motor which in turn drives the rear wheel via chain and sprockets. Khan reports that the Solaron can achieve a top speed of around 20 mph (30 kph) and run for a little over 43 miles (70 km) between charges. A shop-bought charge controller circuit ensures the charge from the panels is stopped when the battery is juiced up.
The entire build cost was just PKR 46,670 (US$540) and Khan has posted detailed build instructions online for those who want to try and create their own variation. He's also hinted at the vehicle being made commercially available - we'll keep you posted on future developments.
Khan can be seen driving his creation around the University in the following video: