TERRY HOPE: Squamish, BC, Canada

Built his own solar-powered concept scooter


Revenger"My revenge for the electric car started when I was faced with a major challenge- I wanted to get to work on time without spending all morning in a car.   I figured I could ride a bike, but that would mean arriving to work as a sweaty mess … so something electrically powered appealed to me.

I purchased an electric scooter, but while working and living on board the Copper Sky, an 88ft steel haul staysail schooner, during the summer of 2008, the captain would not allow me to bring my board a full size, stand on electric scooter that I got from a VEVA (Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association) member. If any transportation was coming on board the vessel my vehicle had only one option... it had to fit inside a suitcase. The following month I purchased a belt-driven kid’s scooter and modified it so it was capable of transporting a rider up to 175lbs.

Then I began the search for improving the range and found that it was so much more technologically important than just adding a couple large battery packs. The positive feedback I received was important to me, finding out I was actually a source of inspiration and hope for others.   It became clear that I needed to develop the project as far as I can and then share it with others thus providing a tool for learning the concepts of the new era in energy and transportation.  Further engineering is needed to allow the vehicle to be more robust and transform into a kit that will allow assembly rather easily by younger aged kids and also to equip the vehicle with life-preserving features.

A huge amount of research is going on in the battery & PV (photovoltaics) fields and many types of solar cells are available and a lot more are coming to market very soon, so I wanted to build a testing platform for solar panels on my scooter.  To achieve a gain in range from a small PV array the vehicle must be super lightweight and also incorporate aerodynamics, and I believe that I have designed a vehicle that is very close to having a balance of these two factors.  Having a base platform like this I will be able to take new technologies and make the vehicle more durable and efficient. 

Adding PV will allow the charging of electronics very easily, while not having to be bothered with carrying a separate solar array because the vehicle is a portable solar array.   Building another solar array in my yard in the summer of 2011, I will charge the bike completely off-the-grid. In 2011 I’m also planning to offer a DIY kit to offer young kids to do what I have done: not only does the vehicle appeal to the younger generation, but many people older than I (35) have expressed a lot of interest in owning such a vehicle.  They like its portability and ease of operation.” http://www.thekpv.com