Solar Vehicle Build Help Needed


New Member
Oct 27, 2020
Before I start I want to apologize if this gets a little to long. I also ask the Admin. people to move it where it should go since I'm not sure where to place it.
In 2019 I quit my job to care for my wife who was given less than a year to live. I took my 401K, paid off our bills, paid Uncle Sam his share, completed a solar build on my camper and helped my wife with the one item on her bucket list; make a two week trip to prove the solar setup worked on our camper and to visit people she wanted to see before she passed away.
After we returned from our trip I began to research an electric trike when I had nothing else to do around the house. About a month later I began to do inventory of items I had left over from my solar experiments for my camper. I also purchased a DC motor with controller-throttle peddle/hand throttle and brake levers wired for brake lights. I also purchased six Mighty Max 12V 12aH batteries. The holidays were just around the corner so my experiment was set aside until after the New Year. Shortly after New Years my wife began to show signs of the cancer progressing and towards the end of February 2020 she lost her battle with it.
By the beginning of April 2020, my funds to live on were rather low and the Covid lockdown began. I wasn't able to return to the work force due to this. To save money, I moved into my camper, turned off all grid-tie items except water and began looking for a way to survive until I could return to work or reach the age of 62 when I could take an early retirement. This also meant I needed to find a way to live without my pickup to eliminate around 3K a year of insurance payments. I had about four months before my insurance was due again so that was my deadline.
A few weeks later I discovered there were several odd job people around my area needed completed. All meant I would have to be around possible Covid infected people but being a rather healthy person I was not worried about that. Over the next seven or eight months I made enough to keep my pickup on the road. I did other odd job throughout the winter until February 2021. During the weekend before the 'Big Freeze' hit Texas and southern Louisiana I was helping neighbors prepare for the freeze when I began to have sever chest pains. Almost a year to the day after my wife had passed away I was checked into the hospital and spent the big freeze in hospital/doctors care. Six weeks after my release I was checked back into the hospital with my second heart attach and this time they fixed the problem with my heart. I was informed that the hospital had informed the Social Security Admin that I wouldn't be able to return to work just days before my 62nd birthday. With warmer weather just around the corner and me feeling like a new man, I began to line up new odd jobs to keep me with enough money to keep my pickup on the road. The only problem was there wasn't enough odd jobs for me to do this year. With the government still under lockdown, I began working with the Social Security Admin to get my SSI check coming, over the phone. I've been told it can take as long as two to three years to get my first check. Here it is the end of August 2021 and still no check. It is now time to begin the old solar trike project again.
Now comes the time I ask for a really big favor from everyone on this forum. I have two 255 watt poly solar panels, one Renogy 40A charge controller, six Mighty Max 12V 12aH batteries, the 24V 500watt 27.4 amp 2500 max RPM motor with all the items listed above that came as a matched set. This will all connect to a 26 inch rear wheel using a 11 tooth sprocket on the motor and a 48 tooth sprocket on the wheel. Weight of the trike will be around 100 to 150 lbs. max and have a 200 lb. man riding it. I'm not sure if the info on the trike is really needed but I have added it to make sure everyone had all the info I had to offer. I don't plan on running this at max speed, somewhere around half throttle is my expected max cruise speed. Does anyone have a formula that could help me estimate the best performance of power generated, expected charge/draw of battery during use and what I can expect over the course of the day? I may not be asking this correctly. I plan for the solar panels to be permanently mounted to the trike and I have very few trees to block sunlight. I know I need to upgrade my batteries to two 12V lithium batteries in the near future. My long term goal for this is being able to make 30 miles round trip in one day, one or two times a week. Short time goal is to present this to the school board and teachers as a STEM project for the areas local high school. I would like to get the students involved in the Solar Car Challenge that could lead to some of them getting college scholarship to one of the many colleges that are involved in this type activity. The local college is about to open a new STEM building for teaching students. I believe STEM stands for Science, Technology, Education and Mechanics. Does anyone have any information that can help me reach my goal for a liquid fuel free form of transportation?
Thank you all in advanced for any help you may be able to offer.


Beefield, GA 30461
May 21, 2021
Beefield Georgia
  • First off; my sympathy and admiration for your life circumstances and well wishes in this life change situation.
  • Second: where are you located?
  • Third: Yes your definition of STEM is correct
  • What exactly is your question? To teach or to donate your projects as a continuation of your wife’s legacy through your project contribution?
  • What is your current situation or status?


Solar Addict
Sep 24, 2019
I have done a FIRST robotics program for 15 years and I know there are schools in Texas. This might be a off season project they are looking for.

Great program that teaches students to build robots to compete with. They also should be doing community projects. Lots of smart kids and mentors.