Solar-powered battery charger for cars standing idle (or cyclists on the go)

solar-powered battery charger

The fact millions of cars across Britain are currently sitting idle is great for the environment,  but not so good for the cars themselves as batteries may begin to lose their charge. Solar-powered battery chargers are inexpensive and easy to use. Simply place one on your dashboard and plug into your 12v socket. Be aware that running your car’s engine for a short period of time won’t adequately charge its battery. In fact, it may drain it further if it is already weak.

If you’ve taken to your bicycle during these challenging times, you’ll be pleased to know that these solar panels can be clipped to a backpack and charge two USB compatible devices while you’re on the go.

Win a solar panel to trickle charge your car battery

We have three solar-powered battery chargers to give away. To be in with a chance of winning one of the solar panels simply leave us a comment and let us know what you’d charge with it.

solar powered battery charger

solar powered battery charger

If you have some spare time while your vehicle is sitting idle, check tyre pressures, engine oil levels, washer fluid and coolant. Check the manual or online for advice on how to do this for your particular vehicle. Also, check the tyre tread and the condition of your windscreen wipers. Replace what you can at home, such as coolant and oil, or make a list and ensure the repairs are completed when you are able to drive again. The government has announced new legislation to allow for the fact that many garages are now unable to offer MOT tests – read more.

ETA breakdown cover comparison

The ethical choice

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance, travel insurancebreakdown cover  and home insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

 

Comments

  1. Debbie Watson

    Reply

    I’d charge up my rear cycle lights

    • Alan Whalley

      Reply

      Phone & lights

  2. Neil Woolford

    Reply

    Phones, boring but true.

  3. Arry O’Rourke

    Reply

    Definatley bike lights or phone!

    • Vernon Jennings

      Reply

      I’d use it to charge my mobile phone, simples!

    • Liz MacG

      Reply

      We have 3 cars on our drive at the moment, any of which could be needed in an emergency. A charger would ensure at least 1 car is working.

  4. Andy B

    Reply

    Battery pack for charging bike lights and phone later

  5. Peter Grant

    Reply

    Working from home self isolating with my pregnant wife. Her MOT was cancelled this week and so we have declared her car as SORN. Her car will now be sitting on our drive for some time. A solar charger would keep her battery topped up.

  6. Craig

    Reply

    Excellent article, very interesting and nice battery charger. I’d love one for self isolating in the garden.

  7. Gillian

    Reply

    One on these would be really useful for charging my phone during long days in the saddle. Once these restrictions lift obviously!

    🚲🚲🚲🚲

    • Tony Tonge

      Reply

      I would take to camp and use it charge my rechargable LED lamp

    • Jeanette Hanley

      Reply

      I’d use it on my bike to power my bluetooth speaker and phone when I go out and about 🚴‍♀️
      Just some nice chill out music.

  8. Jason

    Reply

    My phones, not very original

    • philip carter

      Reply

      My mum who’s isolating because she’s in her seventies could do with this in her car to keep the battery health

    • Dan

      Reply

      Will use it for charging the phone so I can use it to read my sensors when I go on the turbo trainer.

  9. Paul B

    Reply

    My bike computer and phone as these are used regularly.

    • Brian Shannon

      Reply

      I’d charge my EV, a Renault Zoe. She’s feeling neglected with all the cycling I do! I’ve already had to bring my brother around to jump start it last month

  10. Peter Chisnall

    Reply

    Electrifying!

  11. Gordon

    Reply

    What a clever piece of equipment. So many uses for both the cyclist and car owner.

  12. Will Embliss

    Reply

    Charge my phone or an ebike battery

  13. Pete

    Reply

    Phone and my AirPods. I read that as tickle not trickle first, which would have led to some different answers

    • Karl Wallendszus

      Reply

      My car doesn’t get all that much use normally so this would be useful even when there isn’t a lockdown on.

  14. John Thys

    Reply

    Definitely change my car battery and my cycle lights

  15. Doctor David Noble

    Reply

    What a wonderful idea,and, boon for my country practice

    No matter what the day,or, time I could always be sure of starting first time ,every time!

    Wonderful!

    Dr David Noble

  16. Anna

    Reply

    An electric cargo bike to get about delivering medication, food, games and rainbow pictures to fellow lock-downers.

  17. John Thys

    Reply

    Definitely charge my car battery and my cycle lights

  18. Lawrence Brunt

    Reply

    Boy, would I love to win this.

  19. Chris Johnson

    Reply

    This would be excellent for us. As well as the immediate need for trickle charging an unused car, when all this is over we’ll be off cycle-camping in the arctic again (we hope) and solar charging would be a massive benefit (for keeping lights and torches topped up, as well as maintaining charge in mobile phones so that they can be used when in-signal. We’d love one of these.

  20. Paul Miller

    Reply

    Great idea. For the car now while it’s not being used – saves having to go for needless drive to charge the battery. When this is all over I could use it during my cycle commute to charge my phone and the kids Nintendos

  21. John Holiday

    Reply

    Keep the SAAB topped up, as am using my pedelec almost exclusively to get around. Great idea.

  22. Mark Bobbitt

    Reply

    Yes please. This would be really handy.

  23. Lesley Walton

    Reply

    Once I get back to cycle touring, after Coronavirus, I’ll use this to charge my phone – for navigation! Fab!!

  24. Chris Bromwich

    Reply

    Looks so useful for all sorts of application as well as the trickle chard for the car battery

    • Yousaf Mirza

      Reply

      Wow! What a great piece of kit.

    • Toby

      Reply

      We’d charge a phone,
      so we don’t feel alone.
      We’d charge a light,
      to make our streets bright.
      We’d charge our car,
      to travel far
      when corona is done…
      Then we’ll have fun!

  25. Jim Woodlingfield

    Reply

    I got told off by the garage for nor driving enough as they had to replace my battery under warranty – this would keep them happy!

  26. Rod Hewson

    Reply

    Great idea got a sat. nav. and mobile as well as the car battery.
    Stay healthy.

  27. Boyd N

    Reply

    The vans battery while its sitting on the drive and cycle lights and computer once the dark nights kick back in for commuting on the bike.

  28. Russ Taylor

    Reply

    Definite must for charging the phone, especially the using it as a sat-nav on a ride!

  29. Gavin

    Reply

    Good for converting photons into energy.

  30. Mark Holling

    Reply

    I would take this on longer bike rides to top up my phone charge while out as I use it as a bike computer so it’s always on while I’m cycling. Plus it could be a backup for the battery on my new folding e-bike which I’m going to be using a lot after I retire next month. Otherwise it can charge stuff at home to save electricity from the grid, although we generate our own from April to September!

  31. Nigel Latham

    Reply

    Being disabled I would be in real trouble if the car battery went flat (or nearly flat) and I could not use the mobility scooter hoist to load the scooter into the car.

  32. David Curran

    Reply

    My old banger doesn’t get out much (usually less than 2,000 miles a year) but now with lock-down it is getting ignored. One of these panels would be ideal to ensure it will start when it eventually next gets used.
    By the way, do ensure the socket you plug it into is “live” when the ignition is “off” (many are not).

  33. Trevor J Hitch

    Reply

    I’d use it to keep my phone in tip top condition while walking. That way I can use my navigation app all day without worrying I’ll lose the battery and thrn lose myself. I winder if I could fix it to my hat? 🙂

  34. Steve Green

    Reply

    A great idea. Would charge mainly the car battery, but would definitely find other uses for it.

  35. Jo

    Reply

    Hoping it might keep my campervan ticking until we can use it again!

  36. Vic Kearley

    Reply

    Charging Up!

  37. Bob K

    Reply

    Great that it can charge two devices at the same time – but not two cars!! A really useful super bit of kit.

  38. Graham Rooth

    Reply

    I would be grateful if ETA could recommend one of these to buy for my car battery. I see topping up the car battery as the most important use as far as I’m concerned.

  39. Hedley

    Reply

    It’s my birthday today (I’m 53!)
    Can I have a charger ?
    Thank you – thank you !

  40. Stephen

    Reply

    NICE ONE ETA! Thanks for your competitions and for trying to keep up the nation’s morale in these times. 👍🏿

    • Andrew M

      Reply

      Car, bike + charge my battery pack for everything on a hike!

  41. Robert Lewis

    Reply

    I think one of these chargers would be perfect for my cycle camping trips.

  42. Jonathan Jewkes

    Reply

    Just wish to echo what David Curran said. In many cars the 12v socket is not connected when the ignition is off. If you have such a car, you will need to connect the solar panel direct to the battery. Would be good if it came supplied with croc clips. You will need to work out which of the wires from the solar panel is positive, and which is negative.

    • The ETA

      Reply

      Thanks for clarifying that point, Jonathan. The solar panels come with croc clips

  43. Raf

    Reply

    This would be fantastic for keeping the battery in my partner’s electric bike topped up – that could let us go touring together, once travel restrictions are lifted!

  44. james

    Reply

    Sounds a great idea

  45. James Bulman

    Reply

    I’ve invented a solar-powered still. It turns sunshine into moonshine. 🌞 > 🍺 > 🙃. This is my 3 month self-isolation strategy!

  46. Anthony Rogers

    Reply

    I would use it to trickle charge my electric car when I am out and about and it is allowed out on the road again.

  47. Steve K

    Reply

    Obviously charge either phone or car …

  48. Elspeth D

    Reply

    One of these would be just perfect for a cycling courier like myself PLEASE 🥰

  49. Elspeth

    Reply

    One of these would be just perfect for a cycle courier you like me to charge my phone, please.

  50. Daren Smith

    Reply

    Leisure battery in campervan if compatible ready for when we’re free to roam

  51. Neil schofield

    Reply

    Hi if would be great for charging the kids rechargeable toys

  52. Julian Fargher

    Reply

    Burgler alarm for the bike shed. Weird isn’t it that ecars are covered in solar panels. I know it would only make a little difference but…

    • Julian Fargher

      Reply

      *Not covered

  53. Chris Deacon

    Reply

    I would use this to charge my electric bike 😊

  54. Will Bramhill

    Reply

    This piece of kit would be superb for my Saab. For the seven years that I’ve owned her she has done just 10,000 miles, being used just once every two weeks on average. Please take pity on a 17-year-old Swede who needs a trickle charge to keep her electrical juices flowing.

  55. Pete

    Reply

    Phone for longer bike rides so I could use it as a sat nav device (less likely to get lost)

  56. Stuart Young

    Reply

    Phone and tablet for when I’m on my trips round the Scottish Highlands and Islands again…hopefully

  57. Rob Harris

    Reply

    Wish I had thought about this devise before, simple solution to avoiding flat batteries in the winter. Walking and cycling nearly everywhere is good but batteries need some TLC.

  58. Philip Benson

    Reply

    Useful for charging my phone when I am on a cycling trip

  59. Kieron Moore

    Reply

    My phone, cycle lights and fitbit

  60. Kim gray

    Reply

    In my old van, phone and on my bike

  61. richard

    Reply

    Charge the great Donald with crimes against truth telling.

  62. Derek

    Reply

    My car will be getting used a lot less and my bicycle a lot more so one of these to keep the car battery topped up and to charge my bike lights when I’m not doing that would be wonderful. Keep up the good work ETA!

  63. Les Gunbie

    Reply

    I’d use it to charge the car I take kids from my primary school to forest school with – currently standing idle but hopefully back in use soon

  64. Jan M

    Reply

    Wow! Didn’t even know car batteries could be charged up by solar power. Much easier than all that faffing around taking the battery out to trickle charge.

  65. simon wood

    Reply

    i’d use a solar charger to charge my phone, ipad, backup battery, speaker, headphones, bike lights, camera batteries, desklight, radio, audio recorder, toothbrush and if there’s an adapter, my electric bike. Come to think of it, how have I managed to survive this long without one?

  66. Michael Barnes

    Reply

    Sweet forgiving earth
    ’tis now ravage aloud
    from country to country
    with coronavirus abound.

    So, become a bike rider
    first, ensuring you’ve got
    a solar panel charger
    for smartphone to top.

  67. Marta Pascual Argente

    Reply

    I will charge my bike lights, my phone and my USB speaker and headphones

  68. Damian Connaughton

    Reply

    Would charge up phone and camera batteries on bike packing trips

  69. Alan Jones

    Reply

    Car Battery. This will be charging my phone at festivals (if they go ahead)

  70. Martin Meteyard

    Reply

    Vital for my car now that I’m self isolating.

  71. Stephen

    Reply

    I’ve adapted one of my bikes into a makeshift cargo bike which we’re now using to deliver provisions to those self isolating in the village. A charger would help keep my phone topped up on my rounds.

    🚲🚲🚲🚲🚲🚲

  72. Phil

    Reply

    I would charge things

  73. Mike Croker

    Reply

    Watt a current competition – definitely electrifying!

  74. Jane Collier

    Reply

    To hopefully charge the bicycle we have just acquired that has a seat to take my grandson out for a ride (when we are allowed to!!)

  75. LockH

    Reply

    Charge spare/backup battery all day… Arrive home any evening and a full “recharge” takes two minutes… just by swapping batteries… 😉

  76. Stevo

    Reply

    I like the idea of using one of these chargers to keep the car battery topped up. Even in normal times, my family doesn’t often drive far enough daily to actually charge it.

    Thanks for the opportunity ETA.

  77. DB

    Reply

    I am in the military and this would be excellent for exercises in the field and deployments, also for setting up the wahoo kickr in the garden 🚲

  78. Pamela

    Reply

    Navigation(Garmin) and phone are essentials to keep charged. Then lights.

  79. Darren C

    Reply

    Thank you again ETA for giving us all another chance to win something very practical and useful.
    If I was one of the lucky three, I would use it in a not very out of the ordinary way to charge my phone and action cam which I have mounted on my handlebars for extra peace-of-mind.
    I could mount the solar panel on a rear rack as I am still commuting by bike each day.
    Keep safe everyone.

  80. Jeremy Unwin

    Reply

    Great offer from ETA. Certainly useful if car is not used much but also good for rechargeable torches, satnav, phones etc. However, I assume the car 12v socket must be live at all times and controlled by the ignition.

  81. Toity Deave

    Reply

    Interesting paper. Yes, please for charging my bike lights and phone after my cycle into and out of work when we are allowed to go back in.

  82. Sarah

    Reply

    I would use it to keep my car battery topped up, it would also be used when we can get back to our regular camping trips for keeping our phones charged.

  83. Cliff Goulden

    Reply

    Using NO electricity and saving our planet

  84. TheCyclist

    Reply

    Yes please, I would love a set for my lights, phone & satnav while I am riding somewhere on a longhaul tour. Thank you. ❤🙏🚴‍♀️

  85. Su

    Reply

    Solar power – what a great idea!

  86. Beryl Squire

    Reply

    I’d trickle-charge my car. I have to self-isolate and live alone so don’t know how I’ll get the car started if the battery runs down.

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