1962 Solar-Powered MG Midget

 

    As the world faces the imminent depletion of all fossil fuels, transportation will be even more challenging than agriculture.  Long distance travel, steep hills, and high speeds are only possible because of the very high-energy density and convenience of petro-fuels since the energy must be carried on board.  There are no substitutes.  Shortcomings of biofuels and hydrogen on are discussed in the description for the Farmall Cub. 


       

Even exotic batteries or grid plug-in capability will not help because they do not solve the dilemma of sourcing the high transportation energy (now petro-fuels, which required hundreds of millions of years to accumulate).  In addition, plug-in power does not eliminate the problems of pollution and climate change.  We will never again go far, or fast, or be warm as we travel, or plow snow in the winter after the oil runs out.  Air travel will also be impossible without petro-fuels.



Car Specifications:


Total weight: 2100 pounds with driver.  This includes 850 pounds of lead-acid batteries and compares to 1550-pounds dry weight for the original MG. This is too heavy for a 45-year old car in today’s traffic, especially without modern brakes and engine compression braking from an internal combustion engine.


Drive System: The 13 Hp (continuous) L91 Advanced motor operates through the original clutch and 4-speed transmission. A 4.55:1 rear-end ratio allows normal start-up from zero in fourth gear.  The electrical drive system operates at 90 volts with 150 Ah capacity (13.5 Kwh) at 75 Ampere rate.  This is equal to about 1 1/4 gallons of gasoline weighing ten pounds instead of 850 pounds for batteries.


Range: Driving at 30-mph average, energy consumption is 1.5 Ah/mile giving a range of over 100 miles (proven by test several times).  Lack of regenerative braking reduces range in hilly terrain.  Maximum current is 150 Amps or 13.5 Kw (18 Hp) for short periods.  This will provide up to 50 mph on the level but with a serious reduction of range.  The laws of physics rule; for instance, climbing Hp = (0.000027)(% grade)(weight)(mph).  On a 10% grade, climbing would add an additional 11Hp to the level power of about 5 Hp.  This reduces climbing speed to less than 20 mph.


Solar Charging: The small panels on the car charge only the 12-volt accessory battery.  In direct sunlight, to recharge the entire 150 Ah of energy capacity would take about 30 hours with one four-panel array and an area of 50 square feet (5 meter²).  These facts drive home (no pun intended) the dilemma of finding energy substitutes for finite petro-fuels.  On the bright side, at least the user can procure his own energy directly with solar panels and interact this personal energy source with other electrical needs.


Cost: Rebuildable car $2000, batteries $1600, drive system $2000, misc. and labor $2000.

Total cost: approximately $8,000 not including solar panels, which may be on the house or tractor.

 

An electric car for personal transportation . . . infinite MPG . . . zero pollution