Electrical cars are becoming an ever more popular way of reducing your carbon footprint but they aren’t without their problems, particularly, the issue of how the electricity is produced. But what if you could build a car that ran completely on solar energy? Richard Mawby is on a mission to make polluting transport systems a thing of the past, by building an electric car powered only by solar energy.
Day to day, Richard is a foraging fanatic with his ‘Forage Frolics’ courses that give people an alternative to the commercial food industry; teaching people about wild foods and their health benefits. Although he has reduced his carbon footprint on the planet considerably, he wants to go further and create a viable option for everyone to access renewable energy-based vehicles. To make this endeavor even more enticing, Richard also plans on experimenting with a portable solar charger, removing any need to visit a charging station – a truly off grid idea!
The car used in this project is a Reva G-wiz, a low-cost but low-end electric vehicle (EV); Richard plans to improve the battery, however, to increase its power. If successful, the car will be affordable and a competitor in the EV market, rivaling the range of a top-end EV such as the Tesla. The newest model, Tesla S, will cost you from £73’000 upwards – and many other electric car options are simply too expensive for prospective buyers and those on the fence about changing to renewable energy. Some of the cheaper options include the Nissan Leaf at £29’635 and the Renault Zoe at £21’220, but what about the Reva G-wiz?
Originally launched at £9’995, this cost-effective car sells second hand at £2’000 – £5’000. Richard’s own base car cost even less; a battery-less Reva G-wiz at £675 (with full MOT and a custom towbar). This is absolutely dirt cheap for a car, and so we at Off Grid are very excited to see Richard’s progress for perhaps the cheapest electric car ever.
Read on below for Richard’s story and the exciting ideas he has in mind for reimagining the electric vehicle industry:
“Last year I built a solar-powered tricycle and sleeping pod trailer as an experiment to see if I could travel without the need for a car or fuel. This project was a huge success and I rode 500 miles to the south coast on sun and pedal power, towing my home with me!
I have always been a bit of a DIY inventor, and have other ideas that could help change the world for the better; by giving inspiring and easy access to little life hacks that would ease our dependence upon the current polluting options – without compromising on practicality. I am also a forager of wild food and have reduced my footprint considerably over past few years. This next project should completely eradicate my dependence on polluting transport, and inspire others to do the same through my video logs and progress updates.
This year I aim to build a long range electric car using a Reva G-wiz, which is a small lightweight ‘quadricycle’ that originally used lead acid batteries. I aim to install at least 400 Ah (amp hour) of lithium power within it and upscale my solar tricycle idea, so that I can be fully off grid with a practical type of transport.
For the time being, I am fitting my Reva G-wiz with recycled 18650 lithium-ion cells that have been fully tested and built by a friend; who I have also inspired to buy a G-wiz and do the same thing. This will reduce my overall power capacity to around 400 – 500 Ah, but this will give me a good idea of what can be achieved without spending an extortionate amount on new batteries.
Should the funding be attained, I will look towards building new packs that could achieve a max estimated range of 240-300 miles – that would rival a Tesla!
Watch this space – as I progress through my project any pledges would be greatly appreciated and you can find more information through the links below.”
~ Richard Mawby, Febuary 2019
Richard plans would include a process that’s simple enough for anyone to build – no complex wiring or other mechanical skills necessary. If Richard gets enough support on his Kickstarter, he’ll be able to create a working vision of his concept and potentially demonstrate for us at Off Grid Festival this year! Additionally, if Richard reaches beyond his kickstarter goal, he’ll produce a professional video that will detail everything necessary to take on the project yourself. So if you’re on board for affordable and environmentally-friendly transport, check out the links below and get involved!
~ Karys, Febuary 2019