Home Retrofitters Bret and Kira, two Californians who retrofit with solar energy

Bret and Kira, two Californians who retrofit with solar energy

by Retrofit-Daily

When Brett and Kira meet in 2006, they decide to make a return to nature together, in Northern California. Very quickly, the young couple takes stock of what really matters to them. Self-sufficiency and the creation of their own energy, obviously in a sustainable way, becomes a priority for them. Which they will of course transpose on their vehicle …

solar energy
Brett and Kira, and one of the two combos converted to electric. Photos: Solarrolla


Retrofit to run on solar energy

Brett, a mechanical engineering graduate, has been building cars since his teens. He worked on the installation of solar, hydroelectric and wind systems. He also experimented with electricity and steam heating. Good bases for the creation of their company Solarrolla

In 2009, they built their first solar-powered vehicle from a Golf Cart. The vehicle’s performance is surprising. So they start to think bigger. By imagining and planning the construction of a vehicle authorized to travel on the road.

Then comes the electrical conversion of an English postal van, Harbuilt Electric from 1973. Then other Golf Carts and two Indian Rickshaws. All powered by solar energy. Then build two solar powered scooters, starting from “zero”.


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The “Golf Cart” cart, 1st electrical conversion of the couple in 2009. Photo: Solarrolla


The conversion of the combi vw into electric

In 2015, the couple attacked their first VW electric combi, on a 1973 model, for sale at $ 199,999 on their site. Then a second, for the singer Redfoo, known for his hit “I’m Sexy and I Know it”. With a 3,000-watt solar panel, a Tesla Model S battery. But also the power steering … Needless to say, the artist drives his VW electric combi every day.


Read also: The great story of the electric VW van to raise awareness about re-employment.


This second VW combi is powered by the NetGain Hyper9HV electric motor, the most efficient on the market. With its 7 Tesla battery modules (model S 5.3 kWh) for a total of 37.5 kWh, which equates to around 160 km of autonomy. The 3 kW of solar energy produced between the roof and the two solar awnings of course make the combi, a unique vehicle of its kind.



The passion for electric to solar conversion

The electric conversion of vehicles into solar electric becomes a passion. In 2018, the couple decided to have a little madness, by building the Navistar eStar. A 100% electric vehicle, self-sufficient for Joel Gregory whose plan is to travel from Alaska to Argentina in 100% solar energy.

Next will be a three-wheeled cargo bike with a 400-watt solar awning, as well as a first mobile solar charging station. 


electric conversion
The Navistar eStar, 100% electric and self-sufficient vehicle converted for Joel Gregory. Photo: Solarrolla


Approval of vehicles converted to electric in California

Vehicles converted to electric by the Solarolla team are obviously thoroughly tested before being delivered to customers. The small business is also insured for all of the vehicles it converts to electric.

Vehicle retrofits are developing quickly in the United States. Especially in California.

As long as the conversion does not add any other fossil fuel-based system, the EPA or CARB (California Air Quality Agency) does not require certification. Simpler.

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