It’s amazing the things that can be powered by solar energy. Entire homes, street lights, and electric vehicles. It is the latter that piques our interest today. Not only that, but we want to approach it from the DIY perspective. What solar-powered cars can we make with simple supplies and some elbow grease?
We did a little digging, from the surface to the deep reaches of the internet. And here are 18 DIY solar-powered car plans that will turn on your creativity.
This solar-powered mini-car takes the back-to-basics approach. It’s made of the simplest components; a cardboard chassis, some wheels, a motor, and a solar panel. Its simplicity is its strength.
It is a useful educational tool to teach kids the enormous potential of solar energy. Sunlight, power, and action (movement).
2. Junior Solar Sprint Car by Science Buddies
Science Buddies return with yet another mini car. This time, they are assembling the Junior Solar Sprint Deluxe kit that’s available from Solar Made. Assembly is easy, and you do not need technical skills or specialized equipment. It’s so easy a child could do it.
Like Science Buddies, HomeScienceTools is a website catered to school kids. The website’s take on the solar-powered car is simple; using readily-available materials to make a miniature solar car.
But however helpful the content is, it would have been better if they included some colorful images. All text and no images make HomeScienceTools a boring website.
4. Homemade Electric Solar Car by Marc Gyver
Were you a fan of the 1980s TV show, Macgyver? If yes, then you’ll love this one. Marc Gyver, like the fictional Angus MacGyver, is handy with his tools. In this video, he demonstrates how to make a drivable solar-powered car.
You can use this car to drive around your friends and have fun while doing it. But to assemble this toy, you need to be technically gifted and handy with the tools. Overall, it’s a fun project for your weekends
Autodesk Instructables is always an awesome source for fun DIY projects. I’m not surprised that they tried their hand at the solar-powered car. OSRC’s solar-powered car is not a project that you sign up for your school science project. It is a fully functional vehicle that can accommodate a driver. But for you to build this thing, you must be technically gifted.
6. Yuri Ostr’s Mini Solar Car
Yuri Ostr takes miniature solar-powered cars to the next level. This one is almost near microscopic. But as they say, great things come in tiny packages. Despite its size, this solar-powered car is a zippy little gadget. It even has a rear spoiler to spice things up. Overall, great project for kids and a powerful educational tool.
We haven’t even got to the halfway point, and Autodesk Instructables is at it again. This time with a miniature solar car built by ROBO HUB. Assembled from simple materials, this take on the solar car is easy enough for young builders. While you may not be able to jump in it and drive it around, you will get a dopamine hit, knowing you built a gadget of your own.
8. Homemade Solar Car by Jeevan Jee
Are you looking for a school project? Perhaps this might interest you. Jeevan Jee makes a solar-powered car with only a couple of drinking straws, a cardboard box, some gears, and a motor. There are no battery packs, so it can’t run under a shade. Overall, great school project for STEM students.
Made with some bottle tops, popsicle sticks, a motor, and a solar panel, Solar Powered Blog demonstrates how to make a mini solar-powered car. This project is perfect for both kids and adults. And what separates this DIY plan from the rest is the approach. The blog takes its time teaching the concepts behind the solar-powered car.
Do you need a project for you and your kids? Look no further than this one.
10. Solar-Powered RC Car by DC Bapon
As you’ve probably noticed, most of the solar cars in this list are miniature toy cars. Yes, they can run around in the sun, but you have limited control. YouTuber, DC Bapon, ups the ante by creating a remote-controlled solar-powered car.
His finish is also exquisite, good enough to compete with ready-made RC cars. And with this option, you don’t have to contend with dying dry cells.
In this 4-paged PDF document, Solar 4R Schools demonstrate how to make a basic solar car. While it may look like other basic solar car builds, this car is more sturdy and visually appealing. What makes all the difference? The quality of materials used.
Solar 4R Schools trade flimsy cardboard boxes for sturdier corrugated plastic sheets. The end result is an off-road-like solar car that’s ready to conquer the outdoors.
12. Pitsco Education’s Ray Catcher
They call it “The Ray Catcher,” maybe because it runs around collecting sun rays. But I digress. The Ray Catcher’s chassis is made of wood, making it sturdier and more durable than other cardboard alternatives. And it does help, too, that the design is aerodynamic; it reduces drag.
Pitsco Education’s content is (you guessed it) educational. So it’s safe to assume that this build is meant to be a school project.
13. Remote-Controlled Solar-Powered Car by NewKew
For his build, NewKew uses two motors and an RC receiver. And for his chassis, he uses his trusty plastic ruler. After some gluing and wiring, the RC solar car is done. Complete with a battery pack for energy storage. It must be nice to have a solar car that can run in the dark.
This build is a giftable item. Plus, you can fabricate a body reminiscent of a Formula 1 car and take things to the next level.
14. Cardboard Solar Car by Make Your Own Creation
What can you make with an old solar panel and a cardboard box? A 12-wheeler solar-powered car, I guess. But there’s something special about this contraption. This is a proper solar car, complete with the right form and body. It’s not one of those function-over-form contraptions that look like space rovers. You can gift this one to a toddler and make their day.
Perhaps it is your opinion that miniature solar cars are for kids. Perhaps you want to build an actual car that you can drive to your local grocery store. For you, I present Purdue University’s solar-powered car.
This one-seater vehicle looks like something that crawled out of a Mad Max movie, except it doesn’t burn fuel. And this blueprint is clear enough for anyone to replicate. All you need is some supplies and some elbow grease.
16. NewKew’s RC Solar Car
NewKew is at it again with yet another RC solar car. This time with a fresh chassis and multiple solar cells. He even added a rear spoiler for good measure. Unlike his previous attempt, this one is more complicated. There’s a lot of soldering. If that doesn’t intimidate you, go for it. It’s an awesome way to keep yourself occupied on the weekends.
And that’s all the awesome DIY solar plans we could find on the internet. Some are simple solar kits that you can assemble with no sweat, and some are complex assemblies that require specialized equipment and tools. Whichever you choose, one thing is constant; with a little elbow grease, you can create magic.