Student builds photovoltaic electric trike for under $600


August 4, 2011

Pakistan's Farrukh Khan has designed and built an electric trike - where the onboard battery is charged by a PV canopy - for under $600, and has posted detailed build instructions online

Pakistan's Farrukh Khan has designed and built an electric trike - where the onboard battery is charged by a PV canopy - for under $600, and has posted detailed build instructions online

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If the US$6,000 price tag of the BugE trike is still beyond your price range, then you may be interested in the sub-US$600 Solaron three-wheeler designed by Pakistan's Farrukh Khan. The DIY project is not (yet) available commercially, but the young inventor has posted detailed build instructions online for those who want to knock up their own variants.

Designed and built in just 18 days at the University of Engineering and Technology Lahore in Pakistan, Khan's 7 x 3.5 x 4.5 ft (2.13 x 1.06 x 1.37 meter), 132 pound (60 kg) Solaron low-rider features a custom built, t-shaped aluminum framework at the front of the vehicle, and the back part of an old bicycle frame at the rear, joined just behind the seating area to shock absorbers. The reverse three-wheeler - with two wheels at the front and one at the rear - also has a 40 watt photovoltaic canopy above the rider that charges the onboard 12v/80Ah dry cell solar battery.

The battery powers a 24v electric motor which in turn drives the rear wheel via chain and sprockets. Khan reports that the Solaron can achieve a top speed of around 20 mph (30 kph) and run for a little over 43 miles (70 km) between charges. A shop-bought charge controller circuit ensures the charge from the panels is stopped when the battery is juiced up.

The entire build cost was just PKR 46,670 (US$540) and Khan has posted detailed build instructions online for those who want to try and create their own variation. He's also hinted at the vehicle being made commercially available - we'll keep you posted on future developments.

Khan can be seen driving his creation around the University in the following video:

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You Have Done Great Job My Brother....! Allah always with us...keep it up make it and create new things you farrukh khan


Love it!!! More power to your arm, friend. A revolution in urban transport, reduction in traffic congestion and pollution reduction.

Hope to see it being commercially produced. Say in quantities of millions. Hope it outsells those microcars. ;-)

Joe Blake

More evidence that big business is sitting on their hands!


Plenty of room for improvement, but all in all a good first try. Keep at it. Just a few tweeks and it will be a must-have for a lot of people. Anybody out there about you playing World of Warcraft all day?

Neil Larkins

Look what you did!! Well done young man. I thank you for all of us for sharing the fruits of your wonderful mind and generous spirit.


Congrats son, Nation is really proud on You! Although there is a lot room for improvement; like height of panel, length of vehicle, wheel configuration, seating arrangement. But for startup it is I believe more than an eye opener.

Bravo Zulu, Keep it up.

Amanullah Rana

All that really needs is a much larger solar collector, and a law making golf carts legal on side streets.


With economies of scale this could be retailed for under that price with added peddals (just in case) and windscreen to keep weather off and improved airflow,this could out do any electric bike, keep up on it.

Derek Howard

That looks like one lot of motor! that is a complement. proper vehicle and skin I think you could get 40-60 mph with it! Notice how easily it works with RECYCLED parts!

did anybody find a bluprint on the builder\'s linked page? I am interested in front ends of tadpoles...

walt low kinetic human hybrid llc

Walt Stawicki


David Dodson

Really? 960 watt-hours (12V 80ah) charge by a 40 watt panel is at best 24 hours to fully charge. Given typical solar efficiencies and availability that's 3-4 days of charging to go 43 miles--I number I doubt is realistic. Typical energy use for my trike is 3900 watt-hours for less than 100 miles or roughly 40 watt-hours per mile--and I suspect mine is substantially higher efficiency and I do lots of pedaling. Minus the BS this is more like four days for 20 miles.

Taken for what it is, a very creative approach to building an electric trike, it's gizmag-worthy. But your bullshit detector needs a tuneup.

Bill Babcock
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