Solar Electric Volkswagen Camper Van

Photography: Brett Belen

When you think of long haired hippies and wandering spirits, the VW bus inevitably comes to mind. The car embodies the spirit and attitude of 1970s like few other things do, and with this custom Solar Electric Volkswagen Camper, that same optimism seems sure to live on into the present.

While a big old bus like this one may not seem like a great pick for an electric vehicle, Brett Belen – a maker of electric cars – saw a lot of opportunity in this VW bus. The large surface area on the roof makes it ideal for placing a solar array and the substantial volume of the interior provides for easy battery placement. The roof is made up of 4,305 watt LG panels, along with 1,220 Watt array pivots on the front that feed into 4x drok DC-DC converters that get up to 15 more volts of juice out of each panel – taking them from 40 V to 55. A control panel accessed through the moon roof makes it so the panels can be tilted at up to 40 degrees for better exposure to the sun. All in all, the panels can put out up to 8 amps at 150 volts straight into the trojan T-1275 lead acid batteries. All of this juice provides a daily range of just fifteen to twenty miles. Not bad for scooting around town to do some chores or heading out to see some friends.

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