• Ian Watts

and... now Solar powered !!

Updated: Dec 21, 2019

We were due to come away for our summer hols and I'd resigned my self to not being able to take Scoot-ee - I really wanted to get a tonne of use out of her - just to see how she stood up to daily use. I couldn't really bring her as we rent out the house for the summer and spend the 6 - 8 (sometimes 10!) weeks in our camper at various campsites near our home town (it's not ALL fun, we still have some work to do looking after our house and various client's places but...) and I couldn't see how to bring Scoot-ee along too. Plus bringing it meant I couldn't take my KTM Duke and... well, enough said ! Scoot-ee went into the garage...

...until my son's motorbike broke a con-rod ! No time to fix that ! Out came Scoot-ee !!

Don't get me wrong, my son prefers his own bike; he likes the noise, doesn't seem to have any aversion to tapping us up every other day for some more fuel and, to be totally fair, it is 20km faster... like I said in an earlier post; the younger one is, the greater one feels the need for speed.

Or so it seems !

Anyways, we're now into week 4 of being away from a 240v wall socket and Scoot-ee has clocked up well over 500 electric kilometers during its daily abuse from its 16 year old (and friends) rider(s). So far the only complaints are two-fold :

1: lack of engine noise and

2: time / requirement to think about recharging.

Personally, whilst I'm at a street-side cafe taking a coffee I would be extremely grateful should ALL scoots (not to mention vehicles in general) be electric! But that's just me !!

The biggest issue to be fair is re-charging.

A long time ago we fitted the bus (camper) with 2 x 180W solar panels, a Solar30 controller/regulator and 4 x 110AHr batteries. Over the past 5 years we have rarely ever needed to start the engine for a re-charge. We leave a 500W invertor running 24/7 (mostly because we forget to turn it off so just leave it on now unless we're away for extended periods - very rare) . The solar/inverter charges our tech, handles lighting, water pump and all camper necessities. Heating is gas but controlled by electric. Even my wife's electric bike is recharged via solar generated inverter power. A small hairdryer works but struggles and her straighteners are fine too !! To be fair we hardly miss the lack of grid power not even really being aware of the invertor doing its job - thanks to the solar panels..

So... how would the system stand up to Scoot-ee re-charge abuse ?

Well... apart from having to wait the 3 hours (or so) for a re-charge, the only challenge has been when such a recharge is needed more than once a day and / or when it's raining / overcast for more than 36 hours. That's only happened twice ! Effectively Scoot-ee has been solar charged/powered now for almost one month and 400+ kilometers ! Quite incredible. Sure I'd like 4 more 110AHr batteries and 2 more solar panels but...

I can't help but imagine a dozen, or so, solar panels on my office roof, double that number of 12V 110AHr batteries in the workshop below and... charging for free !! I'm not yet quite sure how I'd configure the panels or the batteries to be most efficient for re-charging EVs (Scoot-ee and the Triumph GT6) but, hey, what a set-up that could be !! I guesstimate the cost at around 3000Euro / Pounds. A future project maybe...

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