Photo: Brett Belan/

Local man builds solar electric VW Bus

Ashland, Ore. – A 1973 Volkswagen Van has been transformed into an energy-saving vehicle, all you need is a little help from the sun to get it rolling.

Brett Belan has been toying with solar panels for almost two decades. He said, “It’s something I have a lot of energy to do. It’s easy for me to do.”

And that energy is fueling more than just Brett’s motivation – it’s fueling his transportation too.

“It’s nice to take your vehicle off grid,” he said. “You just park it in the sun and its always ready to go.”

The idea was piggybacked off a golf cart Brett built using solar panels ten years ago.

“I thought, ‘Wow, if I could actually build one that could actually go on the road that would be really nice.’” So that’s what he did.

Brett bought a 1973 Volkswagen Bus.

He said, “Just gutted it took the motor out took all the things I didn’t need out.”

From there he added an electric motor, a battery box and other additional circuitry to get the vehicle moving.

Brett said the electric bus can go almost anywhere. “1400 miles last July. It was pretty amazing.”

The bus even made it to the coast. “The idea was this going get 25 miles and go to coast. We got out the coast in one charge and ended up going to Monterey.”

And if rolling on sunshine isn’t enough, Brett can also plug and charge it at any electric vehicle charging station.

But according to Brett, the best part about the vehicle is it’s something everyone can enjoy.

“It’s a little playground that’s the idea.”

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