Solar Commuter Vehicle Project

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The Electric Motorcycle mocked up for photo shoot.

Electric vehicles are the future of the transportation industry. Through the transportation group, the Collaboratory is on the cutting edge of that future. The transportation group is currently working on a zero emissions electric motorcycle that proves that electrical vehicles are a viable method of commuting. The electric motorcycle brings together technology rarely seen in one vehicle including a brushless electric in hub motor, a lithium ion battery pack, and a solar charging station to prevent this from being an “elsewhere emission” like many others in the field. Through work, experience, and real world testing the transportation group has proven that solar vehicles are a viable method of transportation. We will continue to push the boundaries of solar and electric vehicle technology so that we can create a more eco-friendly sustainable vehicular pattern.




To develop electric vehicles that are able to run off of solar power which are economical and practical for commuting purposes.


  • To construct a functional prototype of an electric motorcycle
  • To explore a Lithium-ion battery/brushless motor combination to extend the electric vehicle's range
  • To develop a charging circuit to evenly and safely charge the batteries
  • To develop easy-to-use charging adapter
  • To develop stationary and mobile solar charging stations to charge electric vehicles


  • Team started Summer 2006 when Dr. Pratt pieced together two Kawasaki Ninja motorcycles. From the two bikes the team formed one electric motorcycle powered by four lead acid batteries and a brushed DC motor.
  • The charging station was completed Spring 2007.
  • In-hub integration of the brushless DC motor was completed during the Fall 2009 semester.
  • The motor controller from the '99 Genesis solar car was integrated into the motorcycle in Spring 2010.
  • Completed LCD display and programming in the spring of 2012.


Client Research

Among all the other work related to the Solar Commuter Vehicle, we are searching for a client who would be interested in funding us as well as working along with us. Some of our ideas for the future include an Auto-Rickshaw like what is used in India, Africa, and many other countries, an electric school bus with solar panels on the roof and hundreds of batteries, and we're exploring an electric entry for the BUV Project. We are constantly on the lookout for clients and other ideas (and we're open to suggestions!) If interested in funding, contributing, or getting a closer look at what we do, please contact either Bill Jones (

Final Assembly

The battery pack was originally several lead-acid car batteries strung together and mounted high in the motorcycle. this made handling and all around ergonomics not so user friendly. We are now in the process of upgrading that battery back to powerful lithium-ion batteries, salvaged from donated Dewalt drills. We are currently working a shield for the motor, installing some of the ciruitry to run our motor, as well as soldering our battery packs.


We are interfacing multiple microprocessors to monitor pack voltage and current and to display relevant information to the driver. Each subsection of the pack will have it's own microprocessor. These microprocessors will be used to monitor and report the voltage of individual modules in each subsection. This information will be used to complete pack balancing to prevent over charge/discharge. This information will also be sent to another microprocessor which will sort the data and perform basic functions to transform this data into the relevant information for the driver. It will then be sent to an LCD screen that is mounted on the motorcycle.

Battery Balancing


Project 1 & 2

Project 3 & 4




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