Tuesday, June 18, 2013

All solar recharge

Today I decided to go all solar for recharging the battery. It was a mostly sunny day here with some scattered clouds throughout the day but no rain clouds in sight. I rode into work on the normal route using the motor on all of the uphill climbs and pedaling on the flats and downhill stretches.  The minor maintenance work I completed this weekend really paid off. The brakes were nice and tight, the seat stopped rocking, and the back window stayed closed since the lock tabs no longer turn on their own.

After arriving at work at about 8:45 I disconnected the main power plug and left the charge wire connected with the ELF facing westward and the sun shining down on her from behind.

I took my lunch break at 1:00 and drove the ELF down the road to the quodoba. This is about a one mile round trip ride with a small hill around our office  and a slight incline along the main road. I probably only ran the motor for about 5 minutes and left the main power plugged in for 1/2 hour before leaving the ELF in the sun for the afternoon. 

I left the office at 5:30 and travelled on the big roads on the ride home. This meant using the battery for the motor assist for a higher percentage of time than usual.   I arrived home in just under an hour with the motor still cruising.   No worries!

The battery took about 3 hours to charge on the wall socket which is about 1/2 hour longer than usual.  I guess it started a bit lower than usual so that makes sense.

All-in-all this was a good experiment since now I know that the solar charging really can get me all the way home.  Of course I'm still going to use the wall socket on cloudy days until I can get a more accurate way to read the battery level.


  1. Does the Elf charge as you're peddling? We don't have a ton of solar in our area due to living in a temperate rainforest.

  2. I have similar question to KlienDesign. I don't think it recharges while riding, So how are you planning on getting this more accurate way to read the battery level? I live inCharlottesville and communte to Reston every Monday. Sounds like you are close,I'm wondering if some Monday I might be able see you Elf. = I have downpayment in with OT and am trying to make final decisions.


  3. I have just been leaving my Elf in the Sun, thinking that was adequate to get a solar charge. Am I wrong?