SOLAR CAR ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

Solar car parts and design for beginners

 

HOME | AUTOMOTIVE | BLUEPLANET | ELECTRIC CARS | FORMULA E | ENERGY | INSURANCE | INDEX  | SOLAR CARS

 

 

At the heart of any solar powered car, must be the electrical system.  This comprises the batteries and power electronics to control and manages all the power that enters and exits the system - solar arrays to supply and motor as the end user.

 

 

Nelson Kruschandl - Designer

 

 

The battery pack is equivalent to a petrol tank in a conventional IC car.  A solar car uses the battery pack to store energy that will be used at some later time and also as a load leveling device. Solar cars start races with fully charged battery packs, but after the start, only energy generated by the solar array can be used to recharge the batteries. The maximum amount of batteries that a team can use is limited by a weight rule that is set for each battery type. The most commonly used batteries are:

  1. Lead-Acid

  2. Nickel-Metal Hydrid (NiMH)

  3. Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad)

  4. Lithium Ion

  5. Lithium Polymer

NiCad, NiMH, and Lithium batteries offer improved power to weight ratio over the more common Lead-Acid batteries, but they are less proven technologies that require careful maintenance and are more costly.  Although, in recent years the price has dropped and the reliability is much improved.

 

 

 

Nickel-Metal Hydrid (NiMH)

 

 

The battery pack is made up of several individual cells or modules wired together to generate the required system voltage. The word "battery" comes from a number of guns, "a battery", put together.  Commonly, teams use system voltages between 84 and 108 volts, depending on their electrical system. Some teams run lower 48 or 60 volt systems.  Obviously, the higher the voltage, the more complex the pack and possibly the array.  Equally, higher voltages usually means better overall system efficiency.

 

Some of the most sophisticated components in a solar car are the power electronics. They include the peak power trackers, the motor controller, and the data acquisition system. The primary function of the power electronics is to monitor and control the electricity within the system. Most teams purchase their power electronic components off the shelf these days.  Some teams commission custom built components or build their own custom components.

 

The peak power trackers condition the electricity coming from the solar array to maximize the power and deliver it either to the batteries for storage or to the motor controller for propulsion. When the solar array is charging the batteries, the peak power trackers help to protect the batteries from being damaged by overcharging. The number of peak power trackers used in a solar car varies with each team's design. Peak power trackers can be very lightweight and commonly reach efficiencies above 95%.

 

 

 

Peak power trackers

 

 

The motor controller handles the electricity being sent to the motor based on input signals coming from the driver's accelerator. The power electronics used to manage the electricity within the motor controller is a subject for technical explanations beyond the scope of this general introduction to the subject and is like most specific areas of design, a specialist subject.  There are many different types of motor controllers to work with different types a motors. For the teams that purchase their motors, they can usually also buy a controller that is designed to work with that motor. All teams use some type of motor controller and the best ones are more than 90% efficient.  Some are DC controllers and some AC controllers.  

 

Many competitors now use sophisticated data acquisition systems that monitor the entire electrical system including the solar array, batteries, motor controller and motor. A team needs to monitor the battery voltage and current as the basic minimum. The data received from the acquisition system may be very useful in planning your teams race strategy.  This information could also head off potential problems developing in the car. Ultimately, the driver must interpret his instruments and his support team monitor their car remotely using telemetry (wireless data transmission).

 

 

 

 

1. Chassis - and seating

2. Mechanics - suspension, steering, brakes

3. Motor and drive train

4. Motor controller

5. Solar Array - usually part of body

6. Batteries or fuel cells

7. Electrical System - and instruments

8. Driver Controls - switches, lighting, etc

9. Bodywork - Screen, etc

 

 

 


 

 

Abarth

AC

Alfa Romeo

Allard

Alvis

Amphicar

Aprilia

Armstrong Siddeley

Aston Martin

Audi

Austin

Austin Healey

Auto Union

Bedford

Benelli

Bentley

Bertone

Bizzarrini

BMW

Bristol Cars

BSA

Bugatti

Buick

Cadillac

Cagiva

Caterham

Chevrolet

Chrysler

Citroen

Daewoo

Daihatsu

Daimler

Datsun

Davrian

Delahaye

DKW

Dodge

Ducati

Du Pont

Dutton

Facel Vega

Farina

Ferrari

Fiat

Ford

General Motors

Gentry

Gilbern

Gilera

Ginetta

Gordon Keeble

Gregoire

Hanomag

Harley Davidson

Heinkel

Hillman

Honda

Hummer

Husqvarna

Hyundai

Indian

Iso

Isuzu

Jaguar

Jeep

Jensen

Jösse

Kawasaki

KIA

KTM

Lada

Lagonda

Lamborghini

Lancia

Land Rover

Laverda

Lexus

Leyland

Lincoln

Lotus

Marcos

Maserati

Mazda

Mercedes Benz

MG

MGB

Mini

Mitsubishi

Morgan

Morris

Moto Guzzi

MV Augusta

Nissan

Nelson

Norton

Oldsmobile

Opel

Packard

Panhard

Panther

Peerless

Pegaso

Peugeot

Pininfarina

Pontiac

Porsche

Reliant

Renault

Riley

Rolls Royce

Rover

Royal Enfield

Saab

Sachs

Seat

Skoda

Smart

Standard

Steyr-Puch

Studebaker

Suburu

Sunbeam

Suzuki

Swallow

Toyota

Tata

Tatra

Treser

Triumph

TVR

Unipower

Vanden Plas

Vauxhall

Vespa

Volkswagen

Volvo

Wolseley

Yamaha

Yugo

 

 

Please click on the links above to find out about these famous automotive makers.  If your company is not included and you would like to be listed, please let us know.

 

 

UK VEHICLE INSURANCE ONLINE A - Z

 

 

 

1ST QUOTE

4YOUNG DRIVERS.CO.UK

17 TO 40

A QUOTE INSURANCE

AA CAR INSURANCE

ACCEPT DIRECT

ADMIRAL CAR INSURANCE

ADRIAN FLUX - SPECIALIST INSURANCE

ASDA CAR INSURANCE

AUTOTRADER

AXA

BARCLAYS

BELL

BUDGET

CENTRAL DIRECT VEHICLE INSURANCE

CHURCHILL

COMPARE THE MARKET

CONFUSED.COM

CORNHILL DIRECT

DIAL DIRECT

DIAMOND

DIRECT LINE

EAGLE STAR

EASY MONEY INSURANCE

ECARINSURANCE.CO.UK

ELEPHANT.CO.UK

ENDSLEIGH

EQUITY RED STAR MOTOR POLICIES

ESURE

FOOL.CO.UK

FORD CAR INSURANCE

FORTIS

GROUPAMA

HALIFAX ONLINE CAR INSURANCE

HASTINGS DIRECT

HSBC car insurance

INSURANCE NOW.CO.UK

INSURE.CO.UK

ITS4ME

 

 

KWIK FIT

LEGAL & GENERAL

LIVERPOOL VICTORIA

LLOYDS TSB CAR INSURANCE

LOCAL BROKER.CO.UK

MASTER QUOTE

MARKS & SPENCER

MONEY SUPERMARKET.COM

MORE THAN - Sun Alliance

MOTOR QUOTE DIRECT

MOTOWORLD

N.I.G CAR INSURANCE

NORWICH UNION

PEOPLES CHOICE

PERFORMANCE DIRECT

POST OFFICE

PRIVILEGE

PROVIDENT FINANCIAL

PRUDENTIAL

QUOTE DIRECT

RAC

ROYAL & SUN ALLIANCE

SABRE INSURANCE

SAGA

SAINSBURYS BANK

SCREENTRADE CAR INSURANCE

SHEILAS WHEELS

SMARTER MONEY.COM

SONAR DIRECT.CO.UK

SWIFTCOVER

QUICK CAR QUOTE

QUINN DIRECT CAR INSURANCE

QUOTE ZONE CAR INSURANCE

TESCO 

THE INSURANCE CENTRE

TINY QUOTES.CO.UK

VIRGIN

YES INSURANCE.CO.UK

YOUR FINANCE.BIZ

ZURICH

 

Automotive Prehistory Links

CONTACTS

 

 

A taste for adventure capitalists

 

The world's fastest electric land speed record car, a blue bird eco streamliner

 

The world's fastest electric car: 350mph + using energy from nature. Featuring built in battery cartridge exchange, charged using renewable solar energy. Sponsors sought for the 2016 season.

 

 

BLUEPLANET BE3 ELECTRIC  |   EDUCATION   |  ELECTRIC CYCLES  SOLARNAVIGATOR

The content of this website is copyright © 1991 and 2013 Electrick Publications. All rights reserved. The bluebird logo Bluebird electric motors, solar panels and batteries logo, trademark legendand name Bluebird and Blue Max are trademarks.  The BE2 and BE3 vehicle shape and configuration are registered designs ®.  All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged.  Max Energy Limited is an educational charity.