Solar Powered  Car

Electrical Solar Panels (PV or Photo Voltaic Cells) produce electricity from sunlight.

There are lots of so called ‘solar powered’ models around but often the PV Cells are not properly matched to the electric motor and they don’t work all that well.

The model shown centre right works very well in the sun as you can see from the video clip.

It works even from indirect sunlight or when the Sun is low in the sky.

I experimented with different types of cells but the ratings given for the cells was simply not true and they couldn’t supply enough power. They were also ridiculously expensive!

This was very disappointing so I had my own panels made by an industrial manufacturer and they work really well.

new pv panel
solar car may 201102
solar car may 2011 spoiler

Wiring a solar panel to a basic battery powered vehicle

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First make sure you know which of the two motor wires was connected to the plus terminal of the battery and label the wire using a piece of tape or tie a simple knot in it. Remove the paper fastener connections and brown sleeves leaving the bare wires exposed.

Connect the solar panel to the motor wires making sure to twist together the bare red solar panel wire with the bare plus wire which you labeled in the previous step.

Twist together the black solar panel wire with the remaining motor wire.

Replace the brown sleeves and paper fastener connections. The sleeves will be tighter than before because of the extra wires inside.

Hold the solar panel onto the chassis with an elastic band.

Lead the red solar panel connection to the + side of the battery (the + of the battery has the bump or cap on the end!). Lead the black solar panel wire to the - (minus) side of the battery (flat end).

The car is now being powered by a combination of the battery and the solar panel but you won’t notice the difference unless you are out in the sunshine!

On a sunny day it is possible to remove the battery completely and the car will still run because sunlight alone can power it!

Solar power is brilliant!!!!!!!!!

Well done the KS2 pupils at Westfield School in Newcastle!

Designing the body for the vehicle is great fun - here is a body made from card by a student at Monkwearmouth College in Sunderland as part of a ‘car assembly line’ project.

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Look at the detail in the car interior!!!!
Steering wheel and dashboard controls.

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Will solar panels ever be able to power a typical car?


There would have to be a very large area covered by the solar panels - far greater than the area of the car body!


However, as technology advances, new cells may be developed which convert a higher proportion of the Sun’s rays into electricity.


This could mean that a real solar family car might be a possibility.


It could sit in the car park charging up from the Sun all day and then be ready to go when you want to make a journey!


It would still have to carry batteries though! - because you might need to drive home in the dark!

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