The Sunsense buggy started its life as a neglected and abandoned 2002 Ford Think Neighbor. Someone had unplugged it for the winter and the batteries got damaged beyond repair. Luckily Steve found it and began the restoration process. A few months later, the buggy was back on the road sporting a new paint job, lots of new parts, and solar panels on the roof!
Most electric cars are charged by plugging them into the grid. Because grid power is usually from coal-fired electricity, you could make the case that these are coal-powered cars. However, when you install solar panels on your home, you can really have zero-emission transportation. Most cars driving 12k miles per year, need about 2kW of additional solar to offset the nighttime car charging.
While the solar panels on the buggy don’t fully recharge the batteries all the time, it gets plugged into an outlet at night, which is connected to a grid tied solar electric system. Therefore it truly is a 100% solar powered vehicle!
Steve Haines, Sunsense Consultant