With the price of oil steadily increasing, the global supply decreasing, and impact of CO2 emissions becoming more certain, consumers are seeking vehicles with a lower fuel consumption. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average car emits about 5.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, or just over 11,000 lbs. With over 250 million passenger cars in the U.S., that amounts to 2.79 trillion pounds of CO2 emitted each year.
SolarCycle's project focuses on the conversion of a gasoline motorcycle to solar electricity. This project aims to design an inexpensive form of transportation with zero emissions.
The team will be using a 1984 Honda Nighthawk 700s for this project. The first step will be removing the internal combustion engine and the supporting assembly. In its place, a 15hp electric motor, a motor controller, and a bank of batteries will be added. In addition to the standard electric conversion, it is also planned to position solar panels to the sides of the motorcycle. These panels will be attached to a linkage mechanism to vary the panel position and provide charging opportunities away from home. This assembly will be designed to fit into a standard parking space while collecting solar energy.