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JeepEV: Electric Vehicle Conversion Project
Solar power

     So far my Jeep Cherokee EV doesn't use solar power. However, I plan to begin using solar power soon. Check back later for more info about this aspect of the conversion...

     Another technology which will be used on my electric Jeep is Solar Power. Solar power systems use photovoltaic panels to capture energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. Thus solar power is a renewable energy source and won't "run out" (though it is possible that we could run out of solar energy, I hope it doesn't happen anytime soon as I doubt we'd survive for very long without the sun). So basically, the plan is to mount a photovoltaic solar panel to the roof of the Cherokee to help keep the batteries charged. I plan to use a panel which will take up most of the roof space, and it will probably be incorporated into a new roof rack which is on my list of things to fabricate for the Jeep. Note that the Jeep used to have a stock roof rack, but it decided to part with the Jeep a couple years ago on the highway (it's a long story ;-)

     The solar panel size I'd use (which would produce 120+ watts at 12 volts) could be used to provide power for either the high or low voltage system in the Jeep. If it is used to help power the high voltage system, an inverter would have to be used. Not to mention the fact that 120+ watts of power is probably not going to do much more than trickle charge the high voltage system. This is because so much power is drawn so quickly from the high voltage system by the motor. A solar panel which fits on the roof of the Jeep just can't produce enough power quick enough to be of any significant help to the high voltage system. This is why the solar panel will be used to charge/provide power to the 12 volt system instead; because no inverter will be needed which lowers cost, and because 120 watts helps a lot more when put into the 12 volt system.

More to come...

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