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He turned his old VW bus into a SOLAR-powered EV

This is the story of Brett Belan’s DIY Solar-Powered VW EV Bus. He bought an old VW bus and turned it into his very own solar-powered electric vehicle (this is a link to ANOTHER story). Can you imagine having your own electric vehicle that you can charge using the sun wherever you may be? One that… You built/converted into electric yourself? Yup, that’s what Brett did.

Brett Belan and his wife Kira have built a full electric solar powered volkswagen bus and converted it into a camper 1

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He Turned an Old VW Bus into a Solar-Powered, Self-Charging Electric Vehicle! WOW…

This is probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life.

And the more I see, the more intense the feeling.

It’s such a cool VW van camper!

He built it to enjoy with his family.

The seats look super comfortable!

It’s not your ordinary VW van. It’s from the future…

Yes! It’s electric.

Look at all of those batteries.

The most luxurious seats I’ve ever seen in one of these vans.

That looks so comfortable!

And it even charges itself!

Or, you can plug it in.

How incredible is this custom-built electric VW hippie van? It’s the best!

It doesn’t get much better than this, does it?

VIDEO: Solar-Powered Electric VW Bus Conversion

It’s the ultimate nature enjoyment vehicle.1


  1. Dylan Magaster/YouTube
  2. Solar Electric VW Bus

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Our big thanks to Dylan Magaster/YouTube for sharing this incredible van story!🙏

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Jerry Dycus
    September 15, 2018, 2:40 pm

    Great job!! VW buses are one of the best EVs to make electric.
    Though using used EV lithium which cost less than lead now is far better, less weight, more kwhs, range.
    He needs to put a rounded front on the alum roof box would help range even at 50mph.
    If it were mine, I’d start with an older, lighter one, do it without the top with a lightweight aero trailer instead, clean up the aero using flexible cells on both and Chevy Volt used lithium battery modules .
    Using 7kw or 25kw plus a 4 kw module he can use the same charger, etc , just using a 404 wthr meter like he has to cut the charging off.
    Since I don’t have a VW van, they are costly, I’m doing it with an all composite 63 Vette looking EV and aero trailer with solar and fold out solar panels too.

    • Alex
      September 15, 2018, 4:52 pm

      Would love to learn more about your 63 Vette EV project!

      • Jerry Dycus
        September 15, 2018, 10:23 pm

        Hi Alex,
        I rented a 63 Vette drag racer body mold, USBody in Lakeland Florida, and laid up a much heavier composites and now making the chassis mold and together make a very strong and lightweight, aero monocoque/unibody, far stronger, safer, lighter than the
        I hope to put it into production as now legal to sell 325/yr with only hot rod regulations.
        And looking for a Tesla rear end, suspension to put in it along with 2 Volt battery packs should get 170 mile range very quickly at
        I already have been building, driving lightweight EVs like my EV trike pickup and it’s 14′ trailer, subcars made mostly from epoxy/plywood as so easy, strong, light, low cost , over 25 yrs but now want something to tow long distance.
        And always loved the 63 Vette as one of the, if not the best looking car every built and the only way I can afford one is building it from scratch.
        I also picked it as enough room to sleep in it while charging, avoiding motels and I need to lay down at times from back problems so a very TH too. ;^)
        BTW I’ve built racing, high speed boats from these materials for 45 yrs and these are really small lightly loaded compared to the multihull, sail, powerboats I do and they make great THs too.

        • Alex
          September 17, 2018, 12:56 pm

          This is fascinating, Jerry, is there anywhere we can see any photos of your projects?

        • Jerry Dycus
          September 17, 2018, 4:38 pm

          The Vette is still just a composite part as I get the chassis done so not much to picture yet.
          You can see the mold, parts out of it and examples of finished 63-67 Vettes by going to USBody and on the left click on 63-67 Corvette shows a lot. Click on the picture and more show up. Mine will look mostly like the blue one.
          Google JavaCat Key West for a cat I did back in 86 still running strong.
          And put FreedomEV into image and the black or white subcar that pops up is my FreedomEV.
          A website, ‘Sunrise2 EV’ has so more under The Project Team including an old EV trike pickup, the FreedomEV.

        • Alex
          September 18, 2018, 11:38 am

          I’ll check it out, thanks!!

  • September 15, 2018, 7:38 pm

    If you close your eyes you would think by his philosophy he is in his 70’s….Some of us took WAY too long to uae the brain cells we had. His abilities are obvious and fit and finish is to be desired as well. I am with Jerry as to the recommended upgrades and bones package. Starting with a Westy would same some time but the builder did it out of pocket and used his own skills…..And to think I had TWO of these in my youth…Just used them never considered he value I was getting away from. Great build and even better lifestyle.

  • Evening Iris
    November 11, 2019, 10:00 am

    Oh!! I simply love this!! I used to have a VW bus back in 1972; I adored it. (So did all of my friends who were constantly asking to borrow it by swapping their car.) I love the idea of a solar panel on top; why isn’t VW making these as standard fare?? It’s really good to see the VW bus back again. The bus and the beetle are iconic to the American way of life.

  • e.a.f.
    February 19, 2020, 10:33 pm

    that is amazing! that solar panel is the largest I’ve seen on a vehicle. At one time the status symbol for vehicles was the largest engine. This must be the new version and its so much fun! thank you for sharing.

  • Sheila
    September 24, 2020, 11:04 am

    This is cool and the kids look happy and that is all that counts. Very cute inside.

  • Marsha Cowan
    June 19, 2021, 2:16 pm


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