A yellow, three wheeled vehicle with a canopy that opens upward over the body. It looks a little like the cockpit of a jet figher.

Restoring A Vintage German EV

When you think of EVs from the 90s, GM’s EV1 may come to mind, but [bleeptrack] found a more obscure CityEL three wheeler to restore.

This Personal Electric Vehicle (PEV) is no spring chicken, but a new set of LiFePO4 batteries should give its 48 V electrical system a new lease on life. [bleeptrack] shows us through the cockpit of this jet fighter-esque EV and its simple control systems, including a forward and reverse selector and the appreciable kilometers on the odometer.

Modernizing touches for this vehicle include a smart shunt to track the vehicle charge level as an improvement over the wildly unreliable original system and a new DC to DC converter after the original unit failed. These changes really cleaned up the electronics compartment from the original rat’s nest under the seat.

The design of this vehicle has us thinking of the Minimal Motoring Manifesto and how EVs could make cars simpler again.

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Off-Grid EV Charging

There are plenty of reasons to install solar panels on one’s home. Reducing electric bills, reducing carbon footprint, or simply being in a location without electric service are all fairly common. While some of those might be true for [Dominic], he had another motivating factor. He wanted to install a charger for his electric vehicles but upgrading the electric service at his house would have been prohibitively expensive. So rather than dig up a bunch of his neighbors’ gardens to run a new service wire in he built this off-grid setup instead.

Hooking up solar panels to a battery and charge controller is usually not too hard, but getting enough energy to charge an EV out of a system all at once is more challenging. The system is based on several 550W solar modules which all charge a lithium iron phosphate battery. The battery can output 100 A DC at 48 V which gives more than enough power to charge an EV. However there were some problems getting this much power through an inverter. His first choice let out the magic smoke when it was connected, and it wasn’t until he settled on a Growatt inverter capable of outputting 3.5 kW that the system really started to take shape.

All of this is fairly straightforward, but there’s an extra touch here that makes this project noteworthy. [Dominic] wanted to balance incoming power from the photovoltaic system to the current demands from the EVs to put less strain on the battery. An ESP32 was programmed to only send as much power to the EVs as the solar system is producing at any given time, and also includes some extra logic to make sure the battery doesn’t drain itself from the idle power requirements of the inverter. Right now the system works well but the true test will be when it goes through its first winter. Even though solar panels are more efficient at colder temperatures, if the amount of sunlight or the angle of the panels aren’t ideal there is generally much less production.

Electric Mountainboard With Wireless Control


[Andres Guzman] is chauffuering himself around the University of Illinois campus thanks to his wirelessly controlled mountainboard. He added a brushless motor to drive the rear axel with the help of a chain. Power is provided by a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery which we’ve seen used in other electric vehicles due to its lightweight properties. A wireless PlayStation 2 controller operates the motor but steering remains a lean-to-turn system.

Light Up Your Ride With An LED Mohawk

[Garrett Birkel’s] weekly ride usually features some pretty wild costumes. He wanted something to step up his own look so he make this LED mohawk bike helmet. He had an LED strip to start with and found a way to use acrylic and clear plastic tubing to fold the lights into the appropriate shape. From there he designed a PCB for some DC-DC converters to provide regulated power. The juice comes from Lithium Iron-Phosphate cells, the same kind we saw in the electric bike assist battery a few days ago. We find it a bit wild that you can pick out the PWM of the LEDs in the lens effect of that photograph.