ZAP Xebra PK Super Solar Pickup Truck


ZAP has an electric pickup truck called the Xebra PK.
ZAP Xebra PK review

There is a version of it that has a solar panel on the roof over the bed:

Xebra PK Xero

Note the room for a 4’x 4’ piece of plywood between the back pillars.


Here are some “wild and crazy” ideas about further additions to the PK Xero, which I call the PK Xtra Xero or the PK Super Solar:

  • Mark Higley took my suggestion for adding solar panels on the sides of the frame to draw these pictures:

Xebra Xtra Xero PK or Xebra Super Solar PK

Note how he ingeniously allows the sides and back solar panels to be raised to get better Sun angles.

  • The top solar panel could be redesigned to lengthen it to fill the entire top of the frame, perhaps making it 160 watts instead of 150 watts.
  • Another flexible panel could be molded to the top of the cab.
  • A cover on the front of the frame could be another solar panel, so that one could raise the bed for more sunlight, but that would probably not be cost effective, since its optimal Sun angle would make some other panels have non-optimal Sun angles. In any case, perhaps the front of the frame should be covered to keep the weather out if it is going to used as a camper.
  • I estimate that the sides total about 5/4 of the area of the top and the back about 2/4 of the area of the top, for a total extra area of about 7/4 of the area of the top. Adding the top yields about 11/4 of 150 Watts = 413 watts, say 400 watts. Of course, some of the angles to the Sun will be wrong when the sides and rear are latched down; maybe 300 watts might then be effective. If two of the panels are raised to better solar angles, as shown in the second of Higley’s drawings, maybe it would be 350 watts, which would take 12 hours of sunlight to charge the standard batteries (4.5 kWh). 300 watts would take 15 hours of sunlight. That is not inconsequential!
  • The bed size inside is 51” x 56” or 4.25’ x 4.67’. The solar panel size on the top appears to be about 2.5’ by 3.5’ and has a power rating of 150 watts, which yields about 17 watts/ft2. (This seems too high. See “10 watts per square-foot of roof area is a good ‘rule of thumb’ for most areas in North America.” See watts per square feet for single crystal panels is about 11.5; for multi-crystalline about 12.)
  • A flexible solar panel molded to the top of the cab might add another 25 to 50 watts.
  • The next problem to solve is how to wire all of the panels to give >74 volts to the batteries for charging.
  • If it is going to be used as a camper, there would need to be some kind of anti-bug netting under the sides and back solar panels for when they are raised.
  • It would be nice to have a 12-volts (or higher) power outlet inside the rear of the bed.

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