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These RVers Charge Their Chevy with Solar Panels

These RVers Charge Their Chevy with Solar Panels

In one single hour, more solar energy falls upon the earth than the entire human race uses in one year. 

Think of all the possibilities!

Solar power for homes, RVs, tiny houses, boats, and even… electric cars!

Today we’re learning about the Tom & Caitlin Morton – a full-time RVing couple that charges their electric car directly off their RV solar system.

Let’s dive in!

The Morton’s 5th wheel RV is maxed out with rooftop solar panels.

Can an RV Solar System Set-Up Really Charge an Electric Car? 

With a bit of planning and the right equipment, the answer to this question is yes! Electric cars can charge anywhere that generates electricity, and an RV solar system does exactly that. 

In order to charge an electric car from a solar system, you will need a robust system and to keep an eye on the power draw, but with a few modifications, you’ll be good to go. 

Speaking of their own RV solar strategy, Tom Morton says, “Well, we hate running our generator. We love the silence and ease of this system, and we love not worrying about having enough power or battery capacity.

That said, this system is oversized for our average daily power need, but this really helps with multiple cloudy days in a row or the shoulder and winter seasons when we don’t get as much sun.”

Tom Morton in front of his massive RV inverter and solar charge controllers.

Meet the Mortons: RVers Who Run Their Car on Solar Power

For Tom and Caitlin Morton, charging their car on the solar power from their RV is just another day in the life. 

The Mortons own a hybrid Chevy Volt that they charge from the RV solar power system. 

Not only is their RV powered by the sun, but many of the miles driven by their car are generated from the sun, too! 

The Mortons add, “Sometimes, we just plug the car charger into any old plug on the RV and that works great. However, that means there is no automatic shut-off to stop the car charging.  The problem with this is that if the sun goes down or the day clouds up the car will start drawing down our RV’s batteries. 

This is OK to a point, but if we don’t get enough sun we won’t have enough power to do other things in the RV. “

You can see the Morton’s complete RV Solar & Electric Vehicle set up here.

Charging a Hybrid Chevy Volt with an RV Solar System

Charging an electric car requires a good amount of power, and the Mortons have just that. With a robust solar power system with Battle Born Batteries, charging their Hybrid Chevy Volt is as simple as plugging it in to their RV. 

With their solar panel capability of 2760 watts and 8 lithium RV batteries, they’re set!

In normal conditions the car will take around 8-12 hours to charge from a fully depleted battery.

In order to prevent taking more power from their RV battery bank than they can afford, they added a programmable circuit to charge their car off of. They are able to set parameters and tell the car to stop charging if they want to conserve energy for RV use. 

Caitlin Morton installs rooftop RV solar panels.

Driving a Solar Powered Car

According to the Mortons, the Chevy Volt will drive about 40 – 50 miles on an electric charge before converting to gasoline. If they are driving long distance for the RV, they will charge it up a bit at rest stops. Because, as they say, every little bit counts!

By using the excess solar energy generated by their RV’s solar power system, Tom and Caitlin were able to spend an entire summer in one location while only burning 1 gallon of gas in their car. Can you imagine!?

Solar Powered Cars… Are They The Future? 

It would certainly be cool to see more uses for alternative energy sources in the future for things we use every day, like cars!

While the up-front costs to this kind of set-up can be prohibitive for many, it is still cool to know that there are others doing it… and that it’s all possible!

You can dive deep into the world of electric vehicles at (Electric Vehicle USA).

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  1. This is really cool! But then I saw their tow truck (for their 5th wheel). Also, they must live (or travel) where it is cooler, so they don’t need AC, because to use all that solar on the RV roof, you gotta park in the sun!

  2. Cheryl Bacon says:

    Though I think Tom and Caitlin’s set up is cool and they are an great couple to follow. Their set-up is not only cost prohibitive, but most people don’t have the knowledge or the natural ability to do anything close to this set-up. There are enough RV’s that are jury-rig so outlandishly, we really don’t need to add another avenue. A solar powered world is still a long way off.