As far as solar powered vehicles go, the Hybrid Electric Kinetic Photovoltaic Vehicle (KPV) is probably the most innovative and eye catching of the lot. For one, the KPV is extremely portable and can fit in your suitcase. The KPV has a lithe body frame but can function just as well as any solar powered vehicle twice its size.
The ultra portable KPV has an interesting back-story. Terry Hope was an engineer working on the Copper Sky, a steel haul staysail schooner. Terry wanted to bring his favourite electric scooter aboard the staysail schooner, but his captain would hear none of it. The only way Terry could bring aboard an electric scooter of any kind would be to pack it in a suitcase.
The engineer’s love for electric scooters was so deep that he decided to build an extremely lightweight scooter that would run on solar power, but most importantly, fit inside a suitcase. Terry spent hours, days, and months researching electric vehicles and designing his pet project. Then, on a cold winter morning, a fully functioning KPV stood before him in all its glory.
The Hybrid Electric Kinetic Photovoltaic Vehicle is built on the body frame of a silver mechanical scooter, modified to seat one person. High-end materials such as Polycarbonate and Titanium Hardware have been used to build the body frame. A rear shock suspension allows the vehicle to take a maximum weight of 90 kg.
The front portion of the KPV has three blue colored solar panels attached to it. One panel rests on top of the handle, and the other two are fixed along the straight lined body. The solar panels, apart from being the main power supply to the vehicle, are fashioned in such a way as to acts as aerodynamic wind cutters that improve the vehicle’s drag coefficient value. In other words, the solar panels help the vehicle go faster.
An intelligent feature of the KPV is able to harvest and produce kinetic energy with a sprocket mounted on the rear wheel next to the engine. The power generated by the sprocket is stored in a bank of ultra capacitors, and is released when the propulsion booster switch is turned on.
Terry Hope’s KPV is an achievement on two levels: One is that the solar scooter is a fully functioning bike that is extremely portable; second, with its innovative technology it serves as a prototype for solar powered vehicles of the future.