Phase one of the solar electric bus was an effort to show the potential of an on board solar charger. With a small budget in mind, we were able to go between 40-50 miles on a charge and charge the bus in one day of summer sun. Locally the bus received enough charge in the summer for average 20 mile run each day. What kept the cost down was using lead acid batteries. We keep the speed down on our 1973 Bus as it likes the slow and steady. We rarely go over 60mph. Breathe.
Phase two of the bus will include a 55 KW-hr battery bank of lithium iron phosphate batteries. These cells are not the same as lithium ion. They are about 14% less efficient in performance than an 18650, but have no thermal runaway issues (safer) and actually have a longer cycle life. - i.e. 5 parallel banks of 72Ahr Calb lithium Iron Phosphate.
The new Lithium Iron Phosphate bank will more than quadruple the storage capacity of the battery bank.
We are now looking at a 200 mile per charge RV. Going slow I plan to go 300 miles.
Phase two will also include a significant amount of added solar. With 1200 watts it can charge in a one day of full sun.
The bus will be receiving 4-5 more of the same sized arrays. The conventional solar array will be traded for a much lighter flexible panel set up. When we are finished, by July of 2017, we will have 5KW to charge with. The array will fold out and charge anywhere we choose to stop. The bus will be able to pull a minimum of 100 miles off the sun in one day!!
We will be adding about 59,600 dollars worth of improvements to the bus.
1. 216, Calb Lithium Iron phosphate, 72 amp-hour cells....@$100 each for $21,600
2. $5,000 for Battery management system.
3. Patent files for folding solar array.
4. Merlin Panels carbon fiber hybrid including ACP composites carbon fiber work $30,000
5. Various aluminum for the mechanically folding rack $3,000
6. We also need a shop space to complete this project.
Join the effort as we will be driving the bus completely on sunshine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Stay tuned for Go Fund Me campaign.
Donate to support Phase 2 here!