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web sites that I could not download so I just

gave u the websites,,,,,,,,,,,
for motor specification
for different designs


We recommend a solar array created from individual solar

cells as opposed to one made of prefabricated solar panels.
It enhances the students' learning and can result in a lighter
solar array. Cells can be bought from either Siemens or ASE

Both sell the terrestrial-grade cells that are permitted in

most solar challenges, and the cost for terrestrial-grade cells
are much lower than space-grade cells, though terrestrial-
grade is less efficient. Each solar cell should produce .5 volts
at about 3 amps at peak sunlight. The number of cells to use
depends on their size and the allowable solar area for the
rules of an event. Solar cells should be wired in series on a
panel and should be divided into several zones. For example,
if you have 750 solar cells, you might want to wire 3 sets of
250 cells, each zone producing about 125 volts. If one zone
fails, two other zones are still producing power.

Nelson Kruschandl - Designer

The solar array voltage does not need to match the system
voltage of the motor if you use power trackers. Power
trackers convert the solar array voltage to the system
voltage. They are essential in a solar car. Be sure to verify
with the power tracker vendor the necessary array voltage to
feed the power trackers. If the car drives underneath shade,
the power trackers automatically adjusts the power to match
system voltage, allowing the system to run as efficient as
possible. Power trackers are available from AERL.


A solar cell converts solar energy to electrical energy.

Photons in sunlight provide the energy that moves electrons
from one layer of a semi-conducting metallic wafer to
another. The movement of the electrons creates a current.

Solar cells are devices which convert solar energy directly

into electricity. The most common solar cells function by the
photovoltaic effect. Photo- means light and -voltaic means
electrical current or electricity. (light-electricity) A solar cell
supplies direct current (DC) electricity that can be used to
power DC motors and light bulbs among other things. Solar
cells can even be used to charge rechargeable batteries so
that electricity can be stored or transported for later use
when the sun is not available.
There are primarily two types of cells used today, silicon and
gallium arsenide, which come in several different grades and
varying efficiencies. The satellites that orbit the earth
typically use gallium arsenide, while silicon is more
commonly used for Earth based (terrestrial) applications.

Photovoltaic cell semiconductor layers

Stock class solar cars use commerically available terrestrial

grade silicon cells. Numerous individual cells (approaching
1000) are combined to form the "solar array". Depending on
the electric motor used to drive the car, these arrays
generally work between 50 and 200 volts, and can provide
up to around 1000 watts of power. The intensity of the sun,
cloud cover, and temperature affect the array's output.

Open class solar cars can use any type of solar cell and many
teams use the space grade cells. These cells are generally
smaller and much more expensive than the conventional
silicon cells. They also are more efficient. Photovoltaic cells
are a relatively technology. Their development and use has
come about as part of the technology developed for space
travel and satellite communication systems.

The word Photovoltaic is a combination of the Greek word

for Light and the name of the physicist Allesandro Volta. It
identifies the direct conversion of sunlight into energy by
means of solar cells. The conversion process is based on the
photoelectric effect discovered by Alexander Bequerel in
1839. The photoelectric effect describes the release of
positive and negative charge carriers in a solid state when
light strikes its surface.


Solar cells are composed of various semiconducting

materials. Semiconductors are materials, which become
electrically conductive when supplied with light or heat, but
which operate as insulators at low temperatures.

Over 95% of all the solar cells produced worldwide are

composed of the semiconductor material Silicon (Si). As the
second most abundant element in earth`s crust, silicon has
the advantage, of being available in sufficient quantities, and
additionally processing the material does not burden the
environment. To produce a solar cell, the semiconductor is
contaminated or "doped". "Doping" is the intentional
introduction of chemical elements, with which one can obtain
a surplus of either positive charge carriers (p-conducting
semiconductor layer) or negative charge carriers (n-
conducting semiconductor layer) from the semiconductor
material. If two differently contaminated semiconductor
layers are combined, then a so-called p-n-junction results on
the boundary of the layers.

At this junction, an interior electric field is built up which

leads to the separation of the charge carriers that are
released by light. Through metal contacts, an electric charge
can be tapped. If the outer circuit is closed, meaning a
consumer is connected, then direct current flows. Silicon
cells are approximately 10 cm by 10 cm large (recently also
15 cm by 15 cm). A transparent anti-reflection film protects
the cell and decreases reflective loss on the cell surface.

Photovoltaics: Solar Electricity and Solar Cells in

Theory and Practice
The word Photovoltaic is a combination of the Greek word
for Light and the name of the physicist Allesandro Volta. It
identifies the direct conversion of sunlight into energy by
means of solar cells. The conversion process is based on the
photoelectric effect discovered by Alexander Bequerel in
1839. The photoelectric effect describes the release of
positive and negative charge carriers in a solid state when
light strikes its surface.

Photovoltaic cell construction

Characteristics of a Solar Cell

The usable voltage from solar cells depends on the

semiconductor material. In silicon it amounts to
approximately 0.5 V. Terminal voltage is only weakly
dependent on light radiation, while the current intensity
increases with higher luminosity. A 100 cm² silicon cell, for
example, reaches a maximum current intensity of
approximately 2 A when radiated by 1000 W/m².

The output (product of electricity and voltage) of a solar cell

is temperature dependent. Higher cell temperatures lead to
lower output, and hence to lower efficiency. The level of
efficiency indicates how much of the radiated quantity of
light is converted into useable electrical energy.

Different Cell Types

One can distinguish three cell types according to the type of

crystal: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous. To
produce a monocrystalline silicon cell, absolutely pure
semiconducting material is necessary. Monocrystalline rods
are extracted from melted silicon and then sawed into thin
plates. This production process guarantees a relatively high
level of efficiency.

The production of polycrystalline cells is more cost-efficient.

In this process, liquid silicon is poured into blocks that are
subsequently sawed into plates. During solidification of the
material, crystal structures of varying sizes are formed, at
whose borders defects emerge. As a result of this crystal
defect, the solar cell is less efficient.

If a silicon film is deposited on glass or another substrate

material, this is a so-called amorphous or thin layer cell. The
layer thickness amounts to less than 1µm (thickness of a
human hair: 50-100 µm), so the production costs are lower
due to the low material costs. However, the efficiency of
amorphous cells is much lower than that of the other two cell
types. Because of this, they are primarily used in low power
equipment (watches, pocket calculators) or as facade

Level of efficiency in Level of efficiency in %

% Lab Production
approx. 24 14 to17
approx. 18 13 to15
Amorphous Silicon approx. 13 5 to7

From the Cell to the Module

In order to make the appropriate voltages and outputs

available for different applications, single solar cells are
interconnected to form larger units. Cells connected in series
have a higher voltage, while those connected in parallel
produce more electric current. The interconnected solar cells
are usually embedded in transparent Ethyl-Vinyl-Acetate,
fitted with an aluminum or stainless steel frame and covered
with transparent glass on the front side.

The typical power ratings of such solar modules are between

10 Wpeak and 100 Wpeak. The characteristic data refer to
the standard test conditions of 1000 W/m² solar radiation at
a cell temperature of 25° Celsius. The manufacturer's
standard warranty of ten or more years is quite long and
shows the high quality standards and life expectancy of
today's products.


The solar array is the vehicle's only source of power during

the cross-country Rayce. The array is made up of many
(often several hundred) photovoltaic solar cells that convert
the sun's energy into electricity. Teams use a variety of solar
cell technologies to build their arrays. The cell types and
dimensions of the array are restricted by the Regulations,
depending on the vehicle size and class.

The cells are wired together to form strings. Several strings

are often wired together to form a section or panel that has a
voltage close to the nominal battery voltage. There are
several methods used to string the cells together, but the
primary goal is to get as many solar cells possible in the
space available. The solar cells are very fragile and can be
damaged easily. Teams protect the cells from both the
weather and breakage by encapsulating them. There are
several methods used to encapsulate cells and the goal is to
protect the cells while adding the least amount of weight.

The power produced by the solar array varies depending on

the weather, the sun's position in the sky, and the solar
array itself. On a bright, sunny day at noon, a good solar car
solar array will produce well over 1000 watts (1.3 hp) of
power. The power from the array is used either to power the
electric motor or stored in the battery pack for later use.

Solar Car Array - or cells arrangement

Natural Limits of Efficiency

In addition to optimizing the production processes, work is

also being done to increase the level of efficiency, in order to
lower the costs of solar cells. However, different loss
mechanisms are setting limits on these plans. Basically, the
different semiconductor materials or combinations are suited
only for specific spectral ranges. Therefore a specific portion
of the radiant energy cannot be used, because the light
quanta (photons) do not have enough energy to "activate"
the charge carriers. On the other hand, a certain amount of
surplus photon energy is transformed into heat rather than
into electrical energy. In addition to that, there are optical
losses, such as the shadowing of the cell surface through
contact with the glass surface or reflection of incoming rays
on the cell surface. Other loss mechanisms are electrical
resistance losses in the semiconductor and the connecting
The disrupting influence of material contamination, surface
effects and crystal defects, however, are also significant.
Single loss mechanisms (photons with too little energy are
not absorbed, surplus photon energy is transformed into
heat) cannot be further improved because of inherent
physical limits imposed by the materials themselves. This
leads to a theoretical maximum level of efficiency, i.e.
approximately 28% for crystal silicon.

solar car, if it is to offer any sensible performance must be

light in weight and relatively low powered. One race solar
cars do not represent a practical means of transportation.
They have limited seating (usually one, sometimes two
people), they have very little cargo capacity, and they can
only be driven during the day. They do, however, offer an
excellent opportunity to develop future technologies that can
be applied to practical applications such as the Solar Buggy
project featured here.

Nelson Kruschandl - Designer

While the concept behind a solar vehicle is fairly simple, a
great deal of work, time, and money goes into developing a
high caliber solar car in order to maximize the limited power
offered by the sun.

Building a solar car is a very ambitious goal, but one that is

achievable through hard work and determination. One of the
first things to do is to organize a group of people interested
in building a car. Next, plan a specific timetable of aims.
Then perhaps, work out how much money will you need to
build your solar car. This of course depends on the parts
used, and it's easy to specify the best, but more realistic to
use what is available from the shop shelves.

If the least expensive parts are used, the total cost of a solar
car need not be more that about £5,000 ($10,000).
Unfortunately, this sum will not include traveling costs to,
and sustenance during any competition. You will probably
need a group of fundraisers who are willing to spend the year
making presentations to businesses and speaking to
individuals at their home. You will also need to assess what
materials and tools you need and get several people focused
on building the car itself. It may be a difficult road the first
year, but the things you learn along, including the business
of attracting sponsors, will stand you in good stead for a

Electrical components of a Solar Car

I hope from these pages that you may learn more about
solar cars and how they work. A solar car is made up of
many components that have been integrated together so
that they work as a single system. I have broken the
components of my Solar Buggy down into nine logical
primary systems for ease of reference.

Basically, solar cars are powered by the sun's energy. There

are now many inexpensive toys demonstrating the principle.
The main component of any car is its frame. However, in a
solar car the most important component is its solar array,
which collect and converts the sun's energy into usable
electrical energy. The solar cells collect a portion of the sun's
energy and stores it into the batteries of the solar car. Before
that happens, power trackers converts the energy collected
from the solar array to the proper system voltage, so that
the batteries and the motor can use it. After the energy is
stored in the batteries, it is available for use by the motor &
motor controller to drive the car. The motor controller
adjusts the amount of energy that flows to the motor to
correspond to the throttle. The motor uses that energy to
drive the wheels.

Hence, a solar car is an electric vehicle that receives its

energy for traction, from the Sun rays directly by means of
photovoltaic cells, with a battery as a load leveling device.
The vehicle doesn't charge its batteries from the normal civil
or industrial (generated) distribution network, like other
battery powered cars, but from a clean and renewable source
of energy. Fuel cells can replace or supplement batteries.

The Spirit of Aklahoma's framework

A solar powered car use a mix of technologies that can be

extremely sophisticated. When we talk of a top performance
car we mean that the car uses experimental materials. When
we talk of an average performance car, we mean that the
vehicle uses a sophisticated technology but commercial.

In designing my Solar Buggy, I has chosen to use only

commercially available materials and components for
practical purposes. The idea is to produce a performance car
at sensible prices. A car that might one day be seen every
day on the roads. Rather than an outright competition
vehicles that use experimental materials at around 100 times
the cost of commercial parts. I have set a limit of £300 for
the chassis, £1,000 for the motor and controller, £800 for
the solar panels, £300 for the batteries and £200 for the
bodyworks. This gives a total of £2,600. It sounds a lot, but
in fact we must not include the build labour and workshop
costs, for it would probably double this figure. I have also
omitted the design and development costs from this project.
Pricipia team's tubular chassis

The primary challenge in developing an effective solar car

chassis is to maximize the strength and safety, but minimize
the weight. Every extra pound requires more energy to move
down the road. This means that teams must strive to
minimize weight and a key area is the chassis. However,
safety is a primary concern and the chassis must meet
stringent strength and safety requirements. Generally, there
are three types of chassis used in solar cars:
1. space frame
2. semi-monocoque or carbon beam
3. monocoque
A space frame uses a welded or bonded tube structure to
support the loads and the body. The body is a lightweight,
non-load bearing, composite shell that is attached to the
chassis separately. The semi-monocoque or carbon beam
chassis uses composite beams and bulkheads to support the
loads and is integrated into a non-load bearing composite
belly pan. The top sections of the car are often separate
body pieces that are attached to the belly pan. A monocoque
chassis uses the body structure to support the loads. All
three types of chassis can produce strong lightweight
vehicles. Many solar cars use a combination of the chassis
categories mentioned above. The image above is an example
of a semi-monocoque chassis with an integrated space frame
used to protect the driver.
It may be necessary to define composite materials since the
use of composites is extensive in solar cars. A composite
material is the combination of a filler material sandwiched
between layers of a structural material. Carbon fiber,
Graphite, Kevlar and fiberglass are common composite
structural materials. Honeycomb and foam are common
composite filler materials. These materials are bonded
together using epoxy resins and in the cases of Kevlar and
carbon fiber, can obtain impressive strengths (equal to steel)
but remain very lightweight.

SUMMARY: A solar car must have: efficient

photovoltaic cells, an aerodynamic form, use light and
efficient batteries, a high performance motor,
adequate controls (electronics, and reliable
mechanicals. On the average, a racing solar car, with
its pilot on board (80kg) and with light batteries,
should weigh between 250 - 300kg.
A very neat alloy chassis from Iowa State University

The frames shown above are made from alloy tubes welded
together, whereas, many racing solar cars are made of
carbon fibre and honeycomb sheets formed into a
monocoque molding, or maybe using other exotic materials
such as graphite, similar to that shown below. There are
good and bad points for each method of fabrication. While
the composite will be lighter, it is usually more fragile and
harder to mount suspension to. It is also much more
expensive. Alloy frames require skilled welders, while steel
may be welded by amateurs using MIG machines at very
little cost. Of course steel frames are heavier.

Monocoque (French for "single shell") or unibody is a

construction technique that uses the external skin of an
object to support some or most of the load on the structure.
This is as opposed to using an internal framework (or truss)
that is then covered with a non-load-bearing skin.
Monocoque construction was first widely used in aircraft,
starting in the 1930s, and is the predominant automobile
construction technology today as sheet steel pressings,
whereas formula one cars are carbon fibre one piece

As part of the chassis design, you will of course have worked

out what type of suspension to use. It may have come
about the other way. You may have chosen your
suspension, positioned your driver and motor, then joined up
all the bits with a frame. There are indeed many ways to
achieve a design. I sometimes start with the aerodynamics,
get a body shape, then try and fit in the best suspension,
motors and batteries, etc, around the driver.
Nelson Kruschandl - Designer

Whichever way you go about designing your solar car, the

mechanical systems should be simple in concept, but
designed to minimize friction and weight while maintaining
the strength needed to handle the various road conditions.
You should take a good look at existing state of the art. You
will learn a lot from this research and then you can apply
your own ideas. Lightweight metals like titanium and
composites are commonly used to maximize the strength-to-
weight ratio needed to build efficient components. The
mechanical systems include the suspension, brakes,
steering, wheels, and tires. Regulations from most events set
minimum standards that mechanical components must meet,
but as mentioned elsewhere there are no standard designs
used in solar cars.

Steering & Suspension

Front wheel steering has many advantages since it tends to

be more stable and safer. A solar car uses energy frugally if
it is to be competitive. If there are two front wheels, it is
therefore advisable to work out the geometry so that they
run parallel when the car is going straight ahead to eliminate
scrub, but when the car is turning, the front wheels turn at
different radii. If the car is turning left, the left front tire is
making a smaller circle than the right front tire. If the tires
remain parallel while turning, they will cause unnecessary
drag because the angles will not describe scrub free attack to
the road, decreasing tire life and overall performance. The
principles overcoming this problem were solved by
Ackerman, hence the Ackerman Steering geometry employed
on most production cars.


Disc brakes are desirable as they are predominantly

hydraulic. Having hydraulic lines running to the wheels can
be easier than mechanical brake arrangements. The most
significant problem with disc brakes is that the brake pads do
not back away from the brake rotors when pressure is
released, they just relieve braking pressure. Because the
pads don't normally back away from the rotors, they
continue to have a small amount of drag. While this drag
may not be noticeable on the family car, it is very inefficient
on solar cars. Go kart shops now have brake calipers that are
spring loaded to move the pads away from the rotors. These
very worthwhile.
Motor driving single rear wheel

Solar cars typically have three or four wheels, where the

rules require at least three, or the vehicle falls into a cycle
category. The common three wheel configuration is two front
wheels and one rear wheel (usually the driven wheel). Four
wheel vehicles are sometimes configured like a conventional
vehicle (with one of the rear wheels driven). Other four
wheel vehicles have the two rear wheels close together near
the center (similar to the common three wheel
configuration). In theory, three should be more efficient,
since there are less moving parts and rolling resistance may
be lower.

A wide variety of suspensions are implemented on solar cars.

This is partly due to the fact that the body and chassis
designs are so different between cars. The most common
type of front suspension used in solar cars is the double A-
arm suspension, similar to those used on conventional
vehicles. Typically, trailing arm suspensions similar to those
found on motorcycles are utilized in the rear. Teams design
their suspension components to move freely and smoothly
for maximum efficiency. The design must also be adjustable
so as to maintain proper alignment and functionality.
Disc brakes cycle parts

One of the great things about solar cars, is that you have a
free hand to let your imagination roam. That is one of the
reasons for the incredible diversity, although I think you may
agree, the monocoque designs are beginning to look a bit

Safety should be high priority for any designer. For this

reason, solar cars must meet stringent braking performance
standards and every solar car is required to have two
independent braking systems, much like the dual braking
systems on production cars. Disk brakes are most commonly
used in solar cars because of their adjustability and good
braking power. Some teams use mechanically actuated
brakes while others use hydraulic. Mechanical brakes tend to
be smaller and lighter than hydraulic, but don't offer as much
brake force and require constant tuning. To maximize
efficiency, the brakes are designed to move freely by
eliminating brake drag, which is caused by brake pads
rubbing against the brake surface.
Double wishbone suspension and steering

The steering systems within a solar car, much like

suspensions, vary greatly. The teams must meet turning
radius and handling requirements, but are free to use any
design. The major design factors for steering are reliability
and efficient performance. The steering system is designed
with precise steering alignment because even small
misalignments can cause significant losses and increase tire
wear. Many teams now use long uprights mating onto high
mounted wishbones. This reduces the thickness of the wheel
spats or fairings, hence lowers drag. The object of
employing suspension is obviously to cushion the vehicles
passage. It should be soft enough to protect the car and
solar array from unnecessary jolts and firm enough to
provide a stable ride. A good suspension will also ensure the
wheels stay in contact with the road surface, by controlling
bounce and re-bound. A spring allows movement and a
shock absorber, or damper, prevents oscillation.


In early racing events, bicycle wheels and tires were

commonly used because of their lightweight and low rolling
resistance (minimal friction). These wheels and tires were
generally overloaded when supporting the weight of a solar
car, which effected the performance and safety of the
vehicle. Event Regulations do not allow overloaded tires and
wheels. Fortunately, the popularity of solar car raycing has
prompted some tire manufacturers to construct tires
designed for solar cars. Most teams are taking advantage of
these low rolling resistant, lightweight wheels and tires that
increase both safety and performance.
Leading arm suspension and steering
Personal Electric Scooter (formerly Microtrike)

An enterprising Englishman has come up with a design for a modern microcar. His
name is Dave Crossan, and his car is the MicroTrike. Thanks for sending this along,
Art's Electric Trike

Art writes:

"Art Welter's Electric Trike Technical Details

Prior to the addition of the body, stereo, PV panel and seats, the
drivable rolling chassis weight distribution was: 76 pounds right front, 75
pounds, left front, 173 rear- 324 pounds total.
Finished weight is 550 pounds (105 pounds left front, 150 right front,
300 rear)
Approximate weight in pounds of the body additions: Third battery and
transmission 60, Wood 54, PV Panel 25, Seats 20, Stereo & speakers 20,
Toolbox 20, Wire and Gauges 15, Lexan 5,Inverter 5, Lights 2

Motor: 24 Volt D.C. .8 horsepower American Lincoln Corporation

34 Amps, 1700 RPM, 50 Deg. Cent. Rating,Frame:56 5328D, Cat# 80059, Serial #
Suspension and front wheels: Two 1977 Peugeot moped frames
Rest of frame: 1/2" X1/16" square steel tube, omnitriangulated space frame
Body:1/8" birch plywood with 1/2", 5/8" & 3/4" ribs
Floorboards:1/8,1/4 & 1/2" birch plywood
Windows:1/8" Lexan plastic
Solar Panel: Photowatt 100 watt
Curtis PMC 275 Amp Motor controller, model 1204-001
Yamaha 6 speed Transmission
3) Morco Marine Batteries, Group 27 size, 115 Amp Hour rating
Pro-Watt 800 watt DC-AC inverter

Built by Art Welter, Welter Systems -438 hours from 11/23/01 to 2/3/02/02
- 135 hours procuring materials, designing and building the frame, steering,
brakes and transmission, 45 hours of tune ups and transmission re-design,171
hours for the body, lights and stereo, 87 hours for parking brake, door
windows and transmission repairs and adjustments.
After some more test drives with the bicycle derailler type transmission,
power , range, and reliability all proved inadequate , although the noise
from the chains was more than adequate. A third battery was added, raising
the voltage to 36 volts, and the chain and gears were replaced with a
motorcycle transmission utilizing a custom v-belt drive. The belt from the
motor to the transmission had to be replaced with a chain drive again because
of slippage and near-instantaneous destruction. These subsequent
modifications took 105 hours, compared to the original gear system which took
approximately 115 hours, bringing the total time invested to 543 hours.
Speed seems to be around 20 mph on the flat, but unfortunately I live in
the mountains, so it's a lot of 4-8 mph up and 30 mph down, and the uphil
draws so much amperage that the little 3 battery bank gets skunked, leaving
the range to only about 10 miles. I think the range would be at least double
that if it was used on flat land- I may tow it somewhere to test that out
one of these days."

One-offs and Rarities

Dave sent this in...

"Thought you might like a picture of my 1984 Bamby. It was originanally fitted with a 50cc
moped engine, but I changed it to electric but it only done 10 miles at 40 mph .It is now fitted
with a 125cc Piaggio twist-and-go engine, it now does about 55mph.

"We live just outside London, England.The Bamby was made in Hull which is about halfway up
England on the east coast. It is one of only 35 that were made by a house painter named Allan
someone. It has got disc brakes on the front only, they are off a go-kart and bloody useless,but
the handbrake works quite well."

Thanks, Dave, for sharing this! Dave can be reached at this e-ddress.
Leon Bollee

I got to see an example of this bike at the Nataional Auto Museum in Reno, NV.

"Leon Bollee was the first in France to build small gasoline powered vehicles, beginning to do so in 1895.
This voiturette as he called it, was introduced in the 1896 Paris-Marseille-Paris race. With three speeds of 6-
12-18 mph, it was one of the fastest of its type. In 1897 modified versions won the Paris-Dieppe race at 24
mph and the Paris-Trouville race at 28 mph.

Specifications: tandem two-seat tri-car;engine four-cycle, single-cylinder,air-cooled, with hot tube

ignition;bore 76 mm., stroke 145 mm., displacement 650 cc., 2.5 hp."


Mark Murphy of Blue Sky Design sent in this picture of his BugE, "an ultralight grocery getter,"
he says. Pretty! Mike's company, Blue Sky Design ( does some cool
vehicular work!

Honda Bubu

I got an email from a nice guy in Arizona with this rare and delightful vehicle: the Honda Bubu Cabin
Scooter. What a car! His only has 160 miles on the odometer. Sweet. In addition, the scooter has: forward
and reverse (single speed), 50cc engine, instruments read in English, street legal (although top speed is a
blistering 35mph) He wants to know more about it. Tell him, and tell me. Send email to Frank Beck at

Dig this fine city car. 50cc engine, like a moped, this three-wheeled car is
built by Cassalini on an Ape 50 chassis, and is called a Sulky. Because of the engine's
diminutive size, this Florentine driver needed no license. He has one, because his other car is a
Mercedes, but my point is the same.. The body is fiberglass in this case; we also saw sheet-metal
Sulkies elsewhere in Italy.

The California Commuter

You can read about the The California Commuter built by the very inventive Doug Malewicki,
this vehicle is in the Guiness Book of World Records for being the highest-mileage vehicle on
record. For instance: The 157.192 "MPG at 55 MPH gasoline record" was set on a trip from Los
Angeles to San Francisco where the machine was featured at the San Francisco International
Auto Show. Just 2.87 gallons to travel 451.3 miles! It's not in production. Too bad. Thanks, Jeff
Bequette, for noting the omission of this amazing three-wheeler and pointing me in its direction.

The CycleCar

Bob Stuart begins, "The Car-Cycle X-4 was built as an experimental prototype in 1986-87. In '88 it won two
second places and one third place in the IHPVA Practical Vehicle Championships in Visalia, California. In
'96 it won that event outright in Las Vegas." Read much, much more!

Above is the CC7.

Dolphin, 2000

Andrew G. of Newcastle Upon Tyne sent me notice of this interesting trike, along with the text of an article
from the February 2000 edition of CAR Magazine introducing it. (See below.) Google doesn't find anything
on it anymore. Woe.

Title: STUDLY DUCKING [Nope, I don't understand that either]

Sub-title: You'll raise smiles rather than scowls with the Dolphin, a
105mpg car that won't hold up traffic.

>From the front it looks like something you'd find chocolate buttons inside
on Easter Sunday (that eye-searing yellow, incidentally, is the same paint
code used for Ferraris and TVRs). But take a look at that profile. It's
streamlined, like a Spitfire canopy grafted onto a Fiat Barchetta, or even
a Porsche that someone left on an element.

It's the Dolphin and it does 105mpg and 65mpg. Okay, it's often hard to
know how seriously to take these enviro-hero cars. Usually it's quite safe
to deposit them in the wicker rare-groove file. Aside from its quite sporty
looks, however, the Dolphin has a real design pedigree. It's the work of
Bob Curl, who - together with McLaren F1 mastermind and CAR columnist
Gordon Murray - was responsible for the 1992 Rocket (150mph and 35mpg).
Curl has also designed F3 and Le Mans cars - the 1982 Dome car and 1978 I
Bec entrant - and all Lord Hesketh's Formula One cars between 1973 and

Nine years ago, Curl started thinking about what advantages the streamlined
technology used for racing cars could bring to a fuel-efficient personal
transport vehicle, and how to pitch it so it would sell. 'The secret of
these sorts of cars is that you have to want to get into them to have a
go,' Curl says. 'And, once you're in and driving it, you shouldn't feel
like you're holding people up.'

The former was the reason behind the striking blue interior. It actually
seats two, with the rear passenger's legs going either side of the driver's
seat. It IS attractive and, weighing 215kg, quite quick enough with its
200cc two-stroke Piaggio scooter engine. The steering is pin-sharp and even
the four-speed manual gearbox is enjoyable slotty. There's no reverse, but
Curl says that would be corrected for production versions.

It's a lot of fun to drive, and the one-wheeled rear end is surprisingly
stable, although it'll entertain with a bit of speed up and some lock on.

Ready for the road, Curl says it would sell for between GBP 3000 and 5000
[USD 4800 and 8000] and cost about GBP 1000 [USD 1600] per year to run.


(For more information, call Bob Curl on +44 1424 882 358)

The Electric Car Co. of CA

Atti sent this in in April of 2001. He writes, "Made by the Electric Car Company of Long Beach, CA.
Originally sold for $945. Top speed 18mph, with a range of 30-35 miles between charges. An earlier metal
example was also made that was not as 'attractive'."

Thanks, Atti!

The Essex 50

This was sent to me by an inspiring tilting trike builder in Brazil, Antonio C. B. Sanjuan. This
1950 trike had a 200 cc motor. It's a nice little runabout, I think. Thanks, Antonio!
Fabrique National Model A.S. 24
the Belgian paratroopers work with this beast. Check it OUT!


Mark Murphy of Blue Sky Design sent in this picture of his Kayak, which "was an NEA grant for a
minimum vehicle powered by a 250 honda motorcycle," he says. Cool. Mike's company, Blue Sky Design
( does some really interesting work, including Electrathon cars.

How about an amphibious trike that can go 200 mph on land, and 50 mph on water? That's what's brewing at
Landshark in the UK. Find out more:
Alert reader and collector Chip H. sent pictures of his Marketeer. Chip writes:

I recently purchased a lil' beauty called a Marketeer. It was a street legal grocery errand vehicle. It is electric
and has a separate transfomer made in El Monte California. It has 2 rear wheels and one in front. The body
is steel with two side doors and one rear locking parcel door. It has 2 head lights, 2 tail lights and 1 backup
light. It can go forward or reverse.Definitely not homemade. Judging by its campy styling my guess is that
its 30 to 40 years old. Its missing only its "Jolly" like canopy and frame and its 2-plane or split wind screen.

If you click on the image above, you can see the little "wagon handle" steering and the little cargo space
door. If anyone can help Chip out with information about these vehicles, he'd be grateful, and so would I.
Chip can be reached at:

More on the Marketeer: Chris H. bought one. He writes: "I bought $275.00 worth of batteries and it runs like
a champ! My kids love it!"

And more... Alden Jewel sent such a nice stach of reprints of brochures that I have created a Marketeer page.
Thanks, Alden!

L'Oeuf by Paul Arzens, 1942

Jay H. reminded me a few years ago about a plexiglas and aluminum vehicle created by French artist Paul
Arzen. I got to see the real thing in the trasportation museum at Mulhouse in France. Quite a car.

I translate here from my limited knowledge of French: "The Electric Egg. During the occupation, in 1942,
Paul Arzens built this celebrated electric car. Made from sphere of plexiglas mounted on aluminum,
materials only recently introduced in France, this car illustrates the striking manner the wish to approach the
ideal form of the egg. One imagines the stupor of bystanders of the era at seing this uncommon car, however
rational the shape."

Here's one way the Italians deliver mail. The Pasquale three-wheeler.

Life in Italy sure is the best. Indeed, Dr. Pasquali has been in contact, but now his web address
( seems to be dead. What a shame! Dr. Pasquali, or anyone
who knows his new web home, send me an update.

The Pumpkinseed

You can read about the Pumpkinseed At Rich Rahders' web site on the subject. Interesting guy! Interesting
all-solar vehicle! (Those fins help speed it along if there is any non-frontal wind.) Thanks, Rich Rahders!

Sealegs amphibious watercraft

From New Zealand, motorboats with retractable electric drive. Wooo! Their site is

The Dymaxion Car.

R. Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Car.

An odd little trike.

What a strange thing place Crown King Mine and Gost Town is. Yes, strange, but wonderful. This place on
the edge of an Arizona town called Jerome, whose population was 15,000 or so in its heydey and only 400
now. (The town is on a high hillside... note the background.) But some creative people have pulled together
machinery and vehicles from all over the state, including this little putt-putt. I have seen these things in
industrial settings, at huge plants where, say, a mechanic might have to travel many miles in the course of a
Model T Kit Tractor

Also at the Crown King Mine and Gost Town was this 1915 Ford Model T converted, according
to the sign, to a farm tractor using a kit available back then. The front wheels are all steel with a
large ridge in the middle for good mud and dirt steering. The rear wheel is almost a foot wide
(under that sheet metal fender), and has large riveted traction teeth across it. Good load bearing
(large surface area) but without losing traction. You have got to love a wood-frame vehicle!

Roadrunner Galaxie

Dave L. bought this sweet electric three-wheeler. What a pip! In a series of emails, we discover the nature of
the Roadrunner Galaxie:

"I have just purchased an Electric three wheel vehicle called - Roadrunner
Galaxie - It has a ID plate that says it was made in 1981. In general
appearance when you walk up to it, it looks like a golf cart but doesn't have
a place to put the clubs. I was told that it will run at approx. 40 - 45 mph.
It has 2 motors, one on each rear wheel."

"It has places for 4 batteries. one on each side in the front and one behind each seat in the back.That makes a
total of 4 Batteries. This is what makes me think that maybe it had 2 - 6volt and 2 - 12v batteries. The foot
switch (speed control) has microswitchs that are actuated by a roller."
Yamaha solar rickshaw