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Tinkerer letting the sunshine in

Ayden Van Andel has converted his Suzuki Mighty Boy into a solar electric car. The car has a top speed of 65kmh and a range of 60km.
Ayden Van Andel has converted his Suzuki Mighty Boy into a solar electric car. The car has a top speed of 65kmh and a range of 60km. Nicola Brander

SHELLY Beach tinkerer Ayden Van Andel is not a fan of rising fuel prices, so he has stopped buying it.

Well, not entirely.

What he has done is build a car to take him from A to B for free.

An abandoned Suzuki Mighty Boy – a ute about the size of a Mini Minor – has been transformed into his own electric car.

Powered by a combination of an acid battery and roof-mounted solar panels, it has cost him a total of $4800 so far.

The car itself, found in a farmer’s paddock as a pot-plant holder, set him back $300.

From there it has taken him two months of weekend mucking around to have it on the road again.

“I built it for around town,” he said.

“It’s very odd to have a car that’s so quiet.

“You get used to driving it and you forget how loud a petrol car is.

“In this one you flick a switch and it’s on, whereas I spend about $80 to fill up the Commodore.”

The idea was taken on as a project after he built a hovercraft and then a “Westfield” kit car.

It is a mixture of new-old technology. The engine is a DC-motor – essentially a giant version of a cordless drill motor.

“There is no servicing either,” he said.

“You make sure the windscreen wiper bottle is full and the tyres are pumped up.

“The motor is good for 50,000 hours (about 50,000km). It’s an hysterical amount of time.”

Mr Van Andel said the car had a top speed of 65kmh and a range of just over 60km.

A day with the solar panels in the sun, means he drives 10km for free.

On a dreary day, he plugs it in for three hours – a cost amounting to $1.50 per 100km.

Mr Van Andel said the next step might be a new paintjob.


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