Here Comes the Sun: Purdue Student Builds a Solar Suzuki


Tony Danger Coiro (yes, that really his middle name), a Purdue physics major has brought new life to a 1978 Suzuki.  He bought the bike for $50 and then invested $2500 in building the solar-powered incarnation.  The university junior attached a solar panel to on each side of the bike.  The panels charge its lead acid batteries, but they are also chargeable with a plug-in AC current.

The bike is not going to set any land-speed records, but its 45 mile per hour top speed is actually pretty respectable for the naked bike.  The range is somewhat limited at about 24 miles from each charge.  However, the “Boilermaker” undergraduate has plans for an improved design that will top out at 100 mph.   He wants to build a sun-driven racing bike.

So how dies it ride? Coiro says, “The riding experience is surreal.  I get instant, silent, constant acceleration that outpaces urban traffic. It’s like riding a magic carpet.”

The green-minded Coiro says that after graduation, he plans to launch a company that develops electric vehicles. He has received a provisional patent for his current invention.  Now that is a pretty good use of a 32 year-old Suzuki!

Written by Tim Kessel, Courtesy of

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