This is the incredible story of how Joel and Keegan of Route Del Sol built a solar-powered all-electric motorhome in only two months. Incredible, right?
The downfall? Well, even with all of the solar panels, it’s not enough energy to keep moving every day unless you found somewhere to charge directly. Still pretty amazing, though, right?
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All-Electric Motorhome/Van Conversion With Lots of Solar Panels… They Built It In Only 2 Months!
The all-wood interior makes it feel like a tiny cabin, doesn’t it?
When parked, you can expand the solar panels to get to a full charge faster.
How amazing is that?
The solar panels double as awnings.
VIDEO – Off-Grid Solar Powered Electric Van Conversion
Joel and Keegan have set up to drive a solar powered Electric van from Alaska to Argentina to promote renewable energy.
YouTube | FLORB | Route Del Sol | FLORB Patreon
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Are the panels AC or DC?
You mentioned the voltage at the beginning and end of the loop. Why not series each panel if DC? AC would separate each panel? The difference between AC & DC is no voltage loss if one panel is bad? Cool idea happy travels!
All Solar panels are by themselves DC. It’s how they work. When they charge a battery, that battery could power an inverter to convert to AC. Of course, that conversion also costs some electricity – so it’s more efficient to run DC lights, for example. Still – hard to find DC appliances.
The reason you put panels in series is that in parallel, the amperage is high but voltage is low, and there are more losses in the wires.
Those losses also apply inside the van, so running everything on 12V would require very, very thick wires to keep losses down – which are expensive.
Everything is a tradeoff!
== John ==
Great job!! While it might not cover all their driving miles, it’ll supply a lot of air conditioning and everything needed while parked.!!
Did I miss the part about air-conditioning? Air conditioning for an RV that is not plugged into mains electricity is a distant dream for most of us (except of course in a Prius, which has all the AC and heat you could need straight from the factory but, until Toyota builds at least a minivan, that’s a bit small for a couple or more people) Did these guys manage it? I’d love to see a link to that, if you have one?
Thanks, Martin D.
Doesn’t appear that they did but there are Class B RV manufacturing companies offering large enough lithium battery options to do away with the generator and run the AC directly off the batteries…
For an example, check out The Fit RV on youtube, back in August 22, 2019 they posted a video titled, “How Long Can We Run the AC on Winnebago’s Pure3 System?”, and showed it running pretty much all day before it needed to start the engine to charge the batteries close to end of day, which it does automatically like a hybrid, for an idea what’s commercially available now without needing to go to a custom built setup…
Thanks for the lead.
The RV I like is sold with flex solar panels on the roof. They are not the best solar because they cup
and eventually hold water, so I would instead use 400-500w of regular solar panels as the better option.
Good for them for promoting solar, it will happen on a larger scale some day.
The advantage of flexible panels is weight. They only weigh 2kgs as compared with rigid panels at ~18kg. The cupping can be prevented especially if you adopt tracking as in the case of this installation.
My latest thinking is flexible panels on a thin, strong FG sheet that is hinged to 2 more such sheets and folds thinly, light weight and fairly aero on top for driving with 1 panel still producing.
Too much top weight, bad aero of normal panels you need to start driving carefully, lose range so really the only good option is lightweight flexible ones.
When it unfolds to 1 side as a porch, screen room, it can be angled to get a better sun angle than flat.
And build a composite light aero RV to put them on so it can both run A/C as well insulated and charge the main pack for driving.
An RE fueled generator for backup.
I love that you are putting a bathroom in it. IMHO it’s not a home without a bathroom
A home is a home, with or without a bathroom. Plenty of people on this rock called earth don’t have, what you call a bathroom. Just saying…
20 solar panels. How long to charge up? How many hours for power? And does it power when moving place to place during travel?
Hi April, you should watch the video, it’s super informative and I’m pretty sure he answers all of those questions and more, you’ll really love it…