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Transportation best solar bikes in 2020  for sale and diy | Upload Cycling

Best Solar Bikes In 2020: For Sale And DIY

by: Joris Zuid
best solar bikes in 2020  for sale and diy | Upload

Solar panels aren’t just sported on four-wheeled electric vehicles. Even the two-wheelers are getting their share of solar panel technology as well. If solar roads, among other projects, can be given an opportunity for development and fun experiments, why not bicycles?

Best Solar Bikes In 2020: For Sale And DIY

To my surprise, there are already several different solar bike prototypes, projects, and businesses existing around the world – many homemade. Some individuals have taken on personal projects to boost them uphill and give them a little more speed on the road whenever they feel exhausted or even lazy to pedal. For the most part, these home experimenters, who may or may not be engineers by trade, have come up with a design that incorporates solar-powered batteries to help run the motors integrated into their bikes. I don’t know about anyone else out there, but that’s pure genius to me. We can think of it as some would call it – a human-electric hybrid.

Not only is this a fun way to work out, but it also gives the rider a chance to take breaks while covering the ground.

Solar Electric Cargo Bike & Fat-Free E-Bike from NTS Works

bike, solarcells, white frame

It sounds futuristic! But the SunCycle is a real bike from NTS Works. A Fat-Free e-bike that is designed for ease of use for almost any size rider.

What car?! The SunCycle makes it easy to leave the car at home with its cargo trunk, 350-watt front hub motor, large 517 Wh lithium battery, and solar charging capability!
The 60-watt solar panel recharges as you ride as well as when you have the bike parked in the sun. Pretty cool!

A 350 watt (250 in Europe) geared front hub motor powers the SunCycle. NTS Works has a unique steering system that makes this cargo bike feel like steering a standard bike even though it has a long wheelbase and cargo load over the front wheel.

  • This is the NTS Works rebuildable 36V 14.3ah lithium battery located low and centered on the bike for fair weight distribution. The SunCycle uses the Gates Carbon Drive belt to keep things clean.
  • The Fat-Free e-bikes from NTS Works have a low step design intended to make it easy to get on and ride. They offer three different sizes to fit a wide range of riders.
  • The Fat-Free uses the Bafang (8Fun) mid-drive motor and the NTS Works rebuildable 48V 9ah lithium battery. These components are centered and very low on the bike for fair weight distribution.

Bicycle Trailer With Solar Panel Charges Electric Bicycle

bicycle, trailer, solar cells, road

Recommended: Electric Bike Conversion Kits: Best In 2020

“The electric bicycle has become a very long way in recent years. However, the lack of luggage space and a limited range of the battery makes the electric bike less suited to long distances. Solarwind, designed by architect Raf Van Hulle, offers a solution. The trailer provides extra luggage space and is fitted with a solar panel to keep the electric bicycle’s battery charged.”

Voltaic Fuse 4Watt Solar Charger.

solar panel, bike, side bags

Recommended: Best Foldable Solar Panels 2020 And How They Work

This small, lightweight solar panel has been strapped to the rear rack of a touring bicycle for the last twelve months. It has, daily, being responsible for charging and re-charging, time and time again, my iPod Touch (which is used all day long for navigation, entertainment, work, and more), a GoPro video camera, and several small Lithium camera batteries.

In regards to its size, the Voltaic Fuse is about the size of the lid of a large shoebox, which makes it the perfect size to be strapped onto a backpack, placed on the top of your tent, or (in the case of any bicycle traveler), mounted to the rear rack of your bicycle.

The solar panel itself is lightweight, but the large internal zippered pocket, the multiple included adapters, the rear mounting straps, and the included external battery add a significant amount of weight to the device (not so much that it is noticeable when mounted on the rear rack of your bicycle, but certainly enough for hikers to notice when added to the weight of their backpacks). What if you could ride to work, power your computer, charge your phone, and be all charged up and ready for the ride home?  Well, if you live in Africa, maybe soon you will!  

A startup working on a new low-cost solar and human-powered vehicle has received funds from the Energy and Environment Partnership to bring the vehicle to Africa and contribute to the continent’s economic development in remote areas.

Solar-E-Cycle Functions As An e-Bike

The vehicle called Solar-E-Cycle functions as an e-bike, but it is assisted by both a battery pack and a solar panel.

tricycle , solar panel, road

Recommended: Electric Bike On Solar: A Bicycle Tesla Mix

Roger Christen, a Quebecer who spent the last 28 years in Africa, saw an opportunity to solve with a single product several essential problems that Africans living in remote areas face every day: having to walk long distances to get water and lack of access to electricity.

He told LaPresse that he was mainly inspired by those who have to walk miles every day just to get water, but Christen sees more opportunities for African to have access to a product with both a solar panel and a battery pack:

“You can charge your phone, plug a lamp or a water pump. You can even plug a sewing machine and start a business.”They are several similar efforts in Africa to make those off-grid systems available, but Christen’s Solar-E-Cycle is unique for also combining the concept with an actual vehicle.

The main problem is bringing the cost down enough to make it affordable. To achieve that, they have been using used bike frames and made several iterations. They say that the latest Solar-E-Cycles can travel up 50 km (31 miles) per day, and reach a top speed  50 km/h (31 mph).

three tricycles, solar panels, road

Furthermore, they are partnering with economic development efforts to finance the manufacturing of the bikes and then rent them at a low-cost – $0.50 to $1 per day.
Christen said that they received financing to build 70 units to deploy in Kenya.

Recommended: Solar Energy In Architecture At Sea And As Bicycle Path

Ele Solar Charged Bike By Mojtaba Raeisi

Black and white bike, wheels, solar panels

Ele is a solar bicycle designed by Mojtaba Raeisi with solar panels on its wheels that rotate 30 degrees on both sides, to face toward the sun. This is to absorb as much sun-power that it can. This hybrid bike can be charged via electricity and the sun. It works in 3 modes though: Muscle power; Semi- electric, in which electricity helps the user to ride more comfortable and faster; and lastly, electric, that functions entirely as an electric bicycle.

The Ele Solar bicycle prototype is modern aesthetic and sustainable.

Recommended: Electric Bicycle EBIQ Sustainable City Transport

Evovelo Unveiled A Tiny Solar-Powered Vehicle: The Mö

Evovelo unveiled a tiny solar-powered vehicle that combines the advantages of a car — such as safety, weather protection, and stability — with the ease of a bicycle and the low energy consumption and space utilization of a light electric vehicle. The cute little trike is called Mö, and its practicality, customization, and sustainability make it an excellent fit for commuters looking to lower their environmental impact.

solar panels, tricycle, pavement, wheels

Recommended: Electric Bike: Green Energy Powered By Solar

Mö is perfect for short commutes, as it is made from sustainable materials, and it has an all-electric range of up to 50 kilometers (31 miles). The vehicle has a top speed of 45 Km/h (about 30 mph), and a set of roof-mounted solar panels rapidly recharge the vehicle’s 1000Wh battery. A single hour in the sun will yield 5-10 kilometers of range, and the vehicle will fully recharge in 3-4 hours.

tricycle, solar cells, pavement, trees

The tricycle can also be propelled by pedal power to extend its range, and a regenerative braking system stores energy as the vehicle slows down.

Its dimensions of 140 cm wide, 200 cm long, and 130 cm high means Mö doesn’t take up much space; however, it is large enough to seat two adults up front and two children in the back with optional kids seats. Because Mö has a full lighting system, turn blinkers, safety belts, a front crash crumple zone, side-impact protection, and other safety features, one can feel comfortable commuting in an environmentally-friendly vehicle.

The vehicle’s battery can be removed and charged at home, in the office, or a garage – wherever one has access to an electrical outlet.

Recommended: Electric Bike Charging, Picnic Area, And Tablet

EMC Solar Parking Dock.

EMC has developed the 320-Wp Spark solar parking dock. Available with or without the storage capacity of a 30-Ah lithium battery, the Spark sets up under the beating sun and charges the Xkuty battery through a built-in cable. Simply roll the scooter onto the dock, connect the cable and let the sun (and optional battery) do the work.

bike, solar panels, charge dock

The Spark measures 6.2 x 3.9 x 4.9 feet (1.9 x 1.2 x 1.5 m) and weighs around 110 lb (50 kg). EMC tells us that the non-battery version charges the 25-mile Xkuty One in about 12 hours, empty to full. The batteries-included version is designed for overnight charging.

How To Convert Your eBike To A Solar eBike

This is a solar bike primer for anyone who has an e-bike and is considering adding solar charging. It’s challenging to write for all levels, from novice to expert, so this advice is most likely helpful to someone who has installed a DIY e-bike conversion kit. If your experience is limited to riding a factory, turn-key e-bike, and you don’t do your maintenance and repairs, then you will want to get help from a friend or family member before trying a solar upgrade. Hint: find someone who has their multimeter.

Solar Bike DIY In 2020: About Me

I have logged 50,000 miles (80,000 km) on e-bikes over the past 13 years. About a quarter of those were touring and road-testing miles with various solar panels for charging the bike. I’ve built several solar bikes over the years, and I’m pleased to report that it is indeed possible to combine these technologies. Whether or not it makes sense to do so will depend on your goals and your budget.


                                                         Sun tracking solar bike trailer 200-mile test run

 

Maybe Solar Panels Are Not For You?

If you’re only making a couple of weekend bike trips each year, my advice would be to skip the solar panels, borrow a friend’s battery and plug-in charger in addition to your own and find electrical outlets along the way. Anyone who has reliable access to electrical outlets at the end of each day will find that carrying solar panels on the bike is less convenient and more expensive.

But I Want To Put Solar Panels On My Bike!

Ok, I get it. You’ve seen photos and videos of solar bikes, and you want to get in on the fun. Maybe you’re curious about solar power and want to extend your range? Perhaps you want to use solar panels as decorative plumage to attract a like-minded mate? It’s certainly a conversation starter. If you don’t enjoy being the center of attention wherever you go, this might not be the path for you.

I’ve come to think of solar upgrades as falling into two broad categories:

  • Range extenders: 50-200 watt solar panels to supplement your plug-in charging. Expect to get about 5 miles (8 km) of added range for every hour of charging under ideal conditions with a 100-watt panel. This is a great beginner project because it keeps the cost and complexity low while learning the basics. You can always upgrade later. Folding panels can be stowed in your panniers and deployed when stopped or strapped to your bike/trailer to collect energy all day. Most trailers will fit a 100-150 watt panel easily.
  • Off-grid touring: 200-400 watt solar panels for ultimate roaming freedom away from electrical outlets. Expect to get 50-100 miles (80-160 km) per day. You will need to mount them on the bike, so they collect energy all day, which presents some challenges due to the large surface area. Recumbents and cargo bikes are popular in this category, but I’ve seen some awkward attempts to attach this much to a conventional upright bike.

These range estimates assume you can manage to pack light and always pedal at a moderate effort. Expect to consume about 15 watt-hours per mile (9 Wh/km) while averaging around 14 mph (23 kph). If you’re riding uphill all day, into a headwind, in the rain, without pedaling, then your mileage will vary. These are long-term average values. You’ll get more on a sunny day, less on a cloudy day. If you’re unwilling or physically unable to pedal, cut the daily range estimates in half.

solar panel

This small 60-watt panel is excellent for beginners as a range extender.

You can use any solar panel you want, but “semi-flexible” panels made with Sunpower cells for boats and RVs (campers/motorhomes) are your best choice in terms of power per unit weight and ability to withstand rough treatment on a bike. You can find them in all kinds of sizes on your favorite shopping site for around US$2 per watt and up. Traditional glass/aluminum frame rooftop panels are too heavy and should be avoided.

solar blanket, grass

One unique exception might be these thin-film “floppy solar blankets” made by P3 Solar. At US$5-10/watt, they are expensive, but it’s hard to beat 88 watts per kg. They’re not a right choice for mounting on the bike because they take up so much space when unfurled. But if you only ride every other day and you absolutely must stow your panels while riding because you’re touring Ethiopia and the local children are throwing rocks at you, then this might be the panel for you.

Solar DIY Bike 2020: Battery

The size of your battery has some bearing on the efficiency of your system but does not determine your range in an off-grid situation. Assuming you’re trying to maximize distance traveled in a day, a bigger battery means you can take longer breaks before your battery is full. At this point, you have to choose between getting back on the road or wasting potential solar energy because it has nowhere to go. That’s right; longer charge times are a feature. Conversely, an undersized battery (300-400 Wh) coupled with a large solar panel may run into problems with the too much-charging current for the battery cells or the BMS to handle. In that case, you’ll need to explore getting a bigger battery or using multiple batteries with multiple charge controllers.

Solar DIY Bike 2020: Charge Controller

Speaking of which, how do you connect your solar panels to your battery? You’ll need a “boost solar charge controller.” Just copy and paste those words into your favorite shopping site. You should find a couple of inexpensive Chinese models with MPPT for around US$30-75. A charge controller is a DC to DC converter which takes the solar panel’s output and converts it to the voltage needed to charge your battery. The “MPPT” business means that it automatically adjusts to finds the “Maximum Power Point” at which the panel’s voltage times current produces the most power. This varies depending on solar irradiance and temperature, so we need to have Maximum Power Point Tracking to always extract the most power from our solar panel.

The output can be programmed in 0.1V increments to match your battery voltage. If you have the budget, you should get a Genasun boost controller for US$205. These are not programmable but are available in fixed output voltages. They are fully potted and waterproof instead of having loud cooling fans like some of the cheaper models. The Genasuns respond more quickly to changes in sun/shade, which means you’ll get more watt-hours of energy per day on a moving vehicle. They also run cooler, which should (theoretically) make them last longer, and are significantly lighter because they don’t need a giant heat sink—comparison video.

charge controllers

These are currently the two most popular models among solar bike builders.

Most solar charge controllers on the market today are made for lead batteries and can only be set to increments of 14.4V, corresponding to nominal 12/24/36/48V lead batteries. You cannot use these safely with your lithium bike battery. Some of these unsuitable chargers may even state that they support “lithium,”. Still, upon closer inspection, you may find that they only support multiples of 4 LiFePO4 battery cells in series which happen to like being charged to exactly 14.4V (4*3.6=14.4). Most other lithium cell chemistries need 4.2V per cell, so you’ll need 42.0V, 54.6V, or 58.8V for your nominal 36/48/52V pack. Your charger will need to be configured to the exact voltage your battery pack needs. If you’re unsure, figure it out before you plug anything into your pack. The labels on the charger that came with your bike and your battery itself are good starting points.

These controllers have PV input ranges which will work with most solar panels — just make sure that the open-circuit voltage of your panel (VOC) is less than your battery voltage when empty (around 3.2V per cell), or you may find that you will not be able to charge when the input voltage is higher than the output voltage under some conditions (low battery on a cold day). Understand the specifications of your battery, charge controller, and solar panel, keeping in mind that the solar panel voltage is lower than the label value when it gets warm. 

You may be able to connect two small panels in parallel but with larger panels that will likely exceed the maximum input current, so you may need multiple charge controllers. There are trade-offs to be made: for example, a higher input voltage will result in better controller efficiency than a lower input voltage, but connecting panels in parallel will give you better partial shading mitigation, which matters if any part of your bike or body casts even small shadows on the panel.

Suppose you have a Bosch, Yamaha, or Shimano battery. I offer you my condolences. These closed, proprietary systems make it much more challenging to modify and enjoy your bike as you see fit. They’re well-engineered systems designed to maximize corporate shareholder value and minimize liability and warranty claims. These vendors have no interest in helping you with your wacky solar modification project or supporting interoperability with equipment from other vendors. If you’re doing pre-purchase research and solar charging is essential to you, then brands that reject open standards do not deserve your business.

I’ve read that you can trick the Bosch batteries into accepting a charge from a non-Bosch source by applying +5V to the signal pin and keeping charge current at 4A or less. If anyone knows a similar trick that will work with Yamaha or Shimano, please let me know. I know several solar bike enthusiasts who charge using AC inverters on the bike using the charger that came with their bike and an intermediate 12V battery, but these workarounds are bulky and inefficient. They should only be considered as an option of last resort.

I have written extensively about my solar conversions. I mention this as proof of real-world experience in this subject matter and not as an example of a low-cost beginner project. Hopefully, my build will provide some inspiration for what is possible. You can do it. Start small and keep it simple. Add more later after you’ve had your first success. It’s not rocket science. If budget is an issue, you may find used solar panels on eBay, craigslist, or your local equivalent. Or reach out to local solar installers or RV/boat supply shops and ask if they have any returned, blemished, or damaged panels they’re willing to donate to you. Most of all, stop “thinking about it” and get out there and start doing something about it.

My current build has a 315-watt solar array good for around 80 miles (130km) per day. Just for fun, I recently did a 207 mile (333km) single-day ride using 784 Wh from grid-charged batteries and generating 2266 solar Wh so roughly equivalent to carrying six 500 Wh e-bike batteries.

Cover photo by Dutch Solar Cycle, prototype zonnefiets, Solar Application Lab, TU Eindhoven

Dutch company Solar Application Lab (SAL) is pursuing the dream of bringing to market the electric Solar-bike that never needs to be plugged in to recharge it. The design uses small solar panel architecture incorporated into the bike’s wheels.

SAL says, ‘It is a new type of mobility that is smart, healthy and sustainable. It’s easy to use, low cost, and provides benefits for individuals and society. Commuters traveling small distances are often stuck in traffic jams but can easily switch to the solar bike to experience the freedom and advantages of this technology.’

The Solar-bike (also called the S-bike) features a front hub motor along with 60 mini solar panels which, SAL says, provides for their generation 1 system’s 396Wh battery with an average of 35 to 40Wh per hour during daytime under the fairly clouded Dutch skies.

According to SAL, these figures mean extending an E-biker’s daily range by 45 to 50 kilometers – so if you ride less than 45km daily, you are already ‘unplugged.’

WhatsOrb embraces innovations. Electric bicycles are a ‘transit innovation’ from which the battery is still a hazard for the environment. With mining lithium and cobalt is often child labor involved. Currently, a conventional bicycle without motor and battery is still the environmental way of transportation. WhatsOrb.

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Recommended: Electric Bicycles And Cars Were One's Classic Models: Retro

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I'm especially interested in new Hydrogen techniques. I'm convinced that - in the near future - Hydrogen will surpass the development of solar or wind as alternative energy source. Safety concerns will find a solution and Hydrogen will be applied massively in all forms of transportation. 

I'm especially interested in new Hydrogen techniques. I'm convinced that - in the near future - Hydrogen will surpass the development of solar or wind as alternative energy source. Safety concerns will find a solution and Hydrogen will be applied massively in all forms of transportation. 

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Best Solar Bikes In 2020: For Sale And DIY

Solar panels aren’t just sported on four-wheeled electric vehicles. Even the two-wheelers are getting their share of solar panel technology as well. If solar roads, among other projects, can be given an opportunity for development and fun experiments, why not bicycles? Best Solar Bikes In 2020: For Sale And DIY To my surprise, there are already several different solar bike prototypes, projects, and businesses existing around the world – many homemade. Some individuals have taken on personal projects to boost them uphill and give them a little more speed on the road whenever they feel exhausted or even lazy to pedal. For the most part, these home experimenters, who may or may not be engineers by trade, have come up with a design that incorporates solar-powered batteries to help run the motors integrated into their bikes. I don’t know about anyone else out there, but that’s pure genius to me. We can think of it as some would call it – a human-electric hybrid. Not only is this a fun way to work out, but it also gives the rider a chance to take breaks while covering the ground. Solar Electric Cargo Bike & Fat-Free E-Bike from NTS Works It sounds futuristic! But the SunCycle is a real bike from NTS Works. A Fat-Free e-bike that is designed for ease of use for almost any size rider. What car?! The SunCycle makes it easy to leave the car at home with its cargo trunk, 350-watt front hub motor, large 517 Wh lithium battery, and solar charging capability! The 60-watt solar panel recharges as you ride as well as when you have the bike parked in the sun. Pretty cool! A 350 watt (250 in Europe) geared front hub motor powers the SunCycle. NTS Works has a unique steering system that makes this cargo bike feel like steering a standard bike even though it has a long wheelbase and cargo load over the front wheel. This is the NTS Works rebuildable 36V 14.3ah lithium battery located low and centered on the bike for fair weight distribution. The SunCycle uses the Gates Carbon Drive belt to keep things clean. The Fat-Free e-bikes from NTS Works have a low step design intended to make it easy to get on and ride. They offer three different sizes to fit a wide range of riders. The Fat-Free uses the Bafang (8Fun) mid-drive motor and the NTS Works rebuildable 48V 9ah lithium battery. These components are centered and very low on the bike for fair weight distribution. Bicycle Trailer With Solar Panel Charges Electric Bicycle Recommended:  Electric Bike Conversion Kits: Best In 2020 “The electric bicycle has become a very long way in recent years. However, the lack of luggage space and a limited range of the battery makes the electric bike less suited to long distances. Solarwind, designed by architect Raf Van Hulle, offers a solution. The trailer provides extra luggage space and is fitted with a solar panel to keep the electric bicycle’s battery charged.” Voltaic Fuse 4Watt Solar Charger. Recommended:  Best Foldable Solar Panels 2020 And How They Work This small, lightweight solar panel has been strapped to the rear rack of a touring bicycle for the last twelve months. It has, daily, being responsible for charging and re-charging, time and time again, my iPod Touch (which is used all day long for navigation, entertainment, work, and more), a GoPro video camera, and several small Lithium camera batteries. In regards to its size, the Voltaic Fuse is about the size of the lid of a large shoebox, which makes it the perfect size to be strapped onto a backpack, placed on the top of your tent, or (in the case of any bicycle traveler), mounted to the rear rack of your bicycle. The solar panel itself is lightweight, but the large internal zippered pocket, the multiple included adapters, the rear mounting straps, and the included external battery add a significant amount of weight to the device (not so much that it is noticeable when mounted on the rear rack of your bicycle, but certainly enough for hikers to notice when added to the weight of their backpacks). What if you could ride to work, power your computer, charge your phone, and be all charged up and ready for the ride home?  Well, if you live in Africa, maybe soon you will!   A startup working on a new low-cost solar and human-powered vehicle has received funds from the Energy and Environment Partnership to bring the vehicle to Africa and contribute to the continent’s economic development in remote areas. Solar-E-Cycle Functions As An e-Bike The vehicle called Solar-E-Cycle functions as an e-bike, but it is assisted by both a battery pack and a solar panel. Recommended:  Electric Bike On Solar: A Bicycle Tesla Mix Roger Christen, a Quebecer who spent the last 28 years in Africa, saw an opportunity to solve with a single product several essential problems that Africans living in remote areas face every day: having to walk long distances to get water and lack of access to electricity. He told LaPresse that he was mainly inspired by those who have to walk miles every day just to get water, but Christen sees more opportunities for African to have access to a product with both a solar panel and a battery pack: “You can charge your phone, plug a lamp or a water pump. You can even plug a sewing machine and start a business.”They are several similar efforts in Africa to make those off-grid systems available, but Christen’s Solar-E-Cycle is unique for also combining the concept with an actual vehicle. The main problem is bringing the cost down enough to make it affordable. To achieve that, they have been using used bike frames and made several iterations. They say that the latest Solar-E-Cycles can travel up 50 km (31 miles) per day, and reach a top speed  50 km/h (31 mph). Furthermore, they are partnering with economic development efforts to finance the manufacturing of the bikes and then rent them at a low-cost – $0.50 to $1 per day. Christen said that they received financing to build 70 units to deploy in Kenya. Recommended:  Solar Energy In Architecture At Sea And As Bicycle Path Ele Solar Charged Bike By Mojtaba Raeisi Ele is a solar bicycle designed by Mojtaba Raeisi with solar panels on its wheels that rotate 30 degrees on both sides, to face toward the sun. This is to absorb as much sun-power that it can. This hybrid bike can be charged via electricity and the sun. It works in 3 modes though: Muscle power; Semi- electric, in which electricity helps the user to ride more comfortable and faster; and lastly, electric, that functions entirely as an electric bicycle. The Ele Solar bicycle prototype is modern aesthetic and sustainable. Recommended:  Electric Bicycle EBIQ Sustainable City Transport Evovelo Unveiled A Tiny Solar-Powered Vehicle: The Mö Evovelo unveiled a tiny solar-powered vehicle that combines the advantages of a car — such as safety, weather protection, and stability — with the ease of a bicycle and the low energy consumption and space utilization of a light electric vehicle. The cute little trike is called Mö, and its practicality, customization, and sustainability make it an excellent fit for commuters looking to lower their environmental impact. Recommended:  Electric Bike: Green Energy Powered By Solar Mö is perfect for short commutes, as it is made from sustainable materials, and it has an all-electric range of up to 50 kilometers (31 miles). The vehicle has a top speed of 45 Km/h (about 30 mph), and a set of roof-mounted solar panels rapidly recharge the vehicle’s 1000Wh battery. A single hour in the sun will yield 5-10 kilometers of range, and the vehicle will fully recharge in 3-4 hours. The tricycle can also be propelled by pedal power to extend its range, and a regenerative braking system stores energy as the vehicle slows down. Its dimensions of 140 cm wide, 200 cm long, and 130 cm high means Mö doesn’t take up much space; however, it is large enough to seat two adults up front and two children in the back with optional kids seats. Because Mö has a full lighting system, turn blinkers, safety belts, a front crash crumple zone, side-impact protection, and other safety features, one can feel comfortable commuting in an environmentally-friendly vehicle. The vehicle’s battery can be removed and charged at home, in the office, or a garage – wherever one has access to an electrical outlet. Recommended:  Electric Bike Charging, Picnic Area, And Tablet EMC Solar Parking Dock. EMC has developed the 320-Wp Spark solar parking dock. Available with or without the storage capacity of a 30-Ah lithium battery, the Spark sets up under the beating sun and charges the Xkuty battery through a built-in cable. Simply roll the scooter onto the dock, connect the cable and let the sun (and optional battery) do the work. The Spark measures 6.2 x 3.9 x 4.9 feet (1.9 x 1.2 x 1.5 m) and weighs around 110 lb (50 kg). EMC tells us that the non-battery version charges the 25-mile Xkuty One in about 12 hours, empty to full. The batteries-included version is designed for overnight charging. How To Convert Your eBike To A Solar eBike This is a solar bike primer for anyone who has an e-bike and is considering adding solar charging. It’s challenging to write for all levels, from novice to expert, so this advice is most likely helpful to someone who has installed a DIY e-bike conversion kit. If your experience is limited to riding a factory, turn-key e-bike, and you don’t do your maintenance and repairs, then you will want to get help from a friend or family member before trying a solar upgrade. Hint: find someone who has their multimeter. Solar Bike DIY In 2020: About Me I have logged 50,000 miles (80,000 km) on e-bikes over the past 13 years. About a quarter of those were touring and road-testing miles with various solar panels for charging the bike. I’ve built several solar bikes over the years, and I’m pleased to report that it is indeed possible to combine these technologies. Whether or not it makes sense to do so will depend on your goals and your budget. {youtube}                                                          Sun tracking solar bike trailer 200-mile test run   Maybe Solar Panels Are Not For You? If you’re only making a couple of weekend bike trips each year, my advice would be to skip the solar panels, borrow a friend’s battery and plug-in charger in addition to your own and find electrical outlets along the way. Anyone who has reliable access to electrical outlets at the end of each day will find that carrying solar panels on the bike is less convenient and more expensive. But I Want To Put Solar Panels On My Bike! Ok, I get it. You’ve seen photos and videos of solar bikes, and you want to get in on the fun. Maybe you’re curious about solar power and want to extend your range? Perhaps you want to use solar panels as decorative plumage to attract a like-minded mate? It’s certainly a conversation starter. If you don’t enjoy being the center of attention wherever you go, this might not be the path for you. I’ve come to think of solar upgrades as falling into two broad categories: Range extenders:  50-200 watt solar panels to supplement your plug-in charging. Expect to get about 5 miles (8 km) of added range for every hour of charging under ideal conditions with a 100-watt panel. This is a great beginner project because it keeps the cost and complexity low while learning the basics. You can always upgrade later. Folding panels can be stowed in your panniers and deployed when stopped or strapped to your bike/trailer to collect energy all day. Most trailers will fit a 100-150 watt panel easily. Off-grid touring:  200-400 watt solar panels for ultimate roaming freedom away from electrical outlets. Expect to get 50-100 miles (80-160 km) per day. You will need to mount them on the bike, so they collect energy all day, which presents some challenges due to the large surface area. Recumbents and cargo bikes are popular in this category, but I’ve seen some awkward attempts to attach this much to a conventional upright bike. These range estimates assume you can manage to pack light and always pedal at a moderate effort. Expect to consume about 15 watt-hours per mile (9 Wh/km) while averaging around 14 mph (23 kph). If you’re riding uphill all day, into a headwind, in the rain, without pedaling, then your mileage  will  vary. These are long-term average values. You’ll get more on a sunny day, less on a cloudy day. If you’re unwilling or physically unable to pedal, cut the daily range estimates in half. This small 60-watt panel is excellent for beginners as a range extender. You can use any solar panel you want, but “semi-flexible” panels made with Sunpower cells for boats and RVs (campers/motorhomes) are your best choice in terms of power per unit weight and ability to withstand rough treatment on a bike. You can find them in all kinds of sizes on your favorite shopping site for around US$2 per watt and up. Traditional glass/aluminum frame rooftop panels are too heavy and should be avoided. One unique exception might be these thin-film “floppy solar blankets” made by P3 Solar. At US$5-10/watt, they are expensive, but it’s hard to beat 88 watts per kg. They’re not a right choice for mounting on the bike because they take up so much space when unfurled. But if you only ride every other day and you absolutely must stow your panels while riding because you’re touring Ethiopia and the local children are throwing rocks at you, then this might be the panel for you. Solar DIY Bike 2020: Battery The size of your battery has some bearing on the efficiency of your system but does not determine your range in an off-grid situation. Assuming you’re trying to maximize distance traveled in a day, a bigger battery means you can take longer breaks before your battery is full. At this point, you have to choose between getting back on the road or wasting potential solar energy because it has nowhere to go. That’s right; longer charge times are a feature. Conversely, an undersized battery (300-400 Wh) coupled with a large solar panel may run into problems with the too much-charging current for the battery cells or the BMS to handle. In that case, you’ll need to explore getting a bigger battery or using multiple batteries with multiple charge controllers. Solar DIY Bike 2020: Charge Controller Speaking of which, how do you connect your solar panels to your battery? You’ll need a “boost solar charge controller.” Just copy and paste those words into your favorite shopping site. You should find a couple of inexpensive Chinese models with MPPT for around US$30-75. A charge controller is a DC to DC converter which takes the solar panel’s output and converts it to the voltage needed to charge your battery. The “MPPT” business means that it automatically adjusts to finds the “Maximum Power Point” at which the panel’s voltage times current produces the most power. This varies depending on solar irradiance and temperature, so we need to have Maximum Power Point Tracking to always extract the most power from our solar panel. The output can be programmed in 0.1V increments to match your battery voltage. If you have the budget, you should get a Genasun boost controller for US$205. These are not programmable but are available in fixed output voltages. They are fully potted and waterproof instead of having loud cooling fans like some of the cheaper models. The Genasuns respond more quickly to changes in sun/shade, which means you’ll get more watt-hours of energy per day on a moving vehicle. They also run cooler, which should (theoretically) make them last longer, and are significantly lighter because they don’t need a giant heat sink—comparison video. These are currently the two most popular models among solar bike builders. Most solar charge controllers on the market today are made for lead batteries and can only be set to increments of 14.4V, corresponding to nominal 12/24/36/48V lead batteries. You cannot use these safely with your lithium bike battery. Some of these unsuitable chargers may even state that they support “lithium,”. Still, upon closer inspection, you may find that they only support multiples of 4 LiFePO4 battery cells in series which happen to like being charged to exactly 14.4V (4*3.6=14.4). Most other lithium cell chemistries need 4.2V per cell, so you’ll need 42.0V, 54.6V, or 58.8V for your nominal 36/48/52V pack. Your charger will need to be configured to the exact voltage your battery pack needs. If you’re unsure, figure it out  before  you plug anything into your pack. The labels on the charger that came with your bike and your battery itself are good starting points. These controllers have PV input ranges which will work with most solar panels — just make sure that the open-circuit voltage of your panel (V OC ) is less than your battery voltage when empty (around 3.2V per cell), or you may find that you will not be able to charge when the input voltage is higher than the output voltage under some conditions (low battery on a cold day). Understand the specifications of your battery, charge controller, and solar panel, keeping in mind that the solar panel voltage is lower than the label value when it gets warm.  You may be able to connect two small panels in parallel but with larger panels that will likely exceed the maximum input current, so you may need multiple charge controllers. There are trade-offs to be made: for example, a higher input voltage will result in better controller efficiency than a lower input voltage, but connecting panels in parallel will give you better partial shading mitigation, which matters if any part of your bike or body casts even small shadows on the panel. Suppose you have a Bosch, Yamaha, or Shimano battery. I offer you my condolences. These closed, proprietary systems make it much more challenging to modify and enjoy your bike as you see fit. They’re well-engineered systems designed to maximize corporate shareholder value and minimize liability and warranty claims. These vendors have no interest in helping you with your wacky solar modification project or supporting interoperability with equipment from other vendors. If you’re doing pre-purchase research and solar charging is essential to you, then brands that reject open standards do not deserve your business. I’ve read that you can trick the Bosch batteries into accepting a charge from a non-Bosch source by applying +5V to the signal pin and keeping charge current at 4A or less. If anyone knows a similar trick that will work with Yamaha or Shimano, please let me know. I know several solar bike enthusiasts who charge using AC inverters on the bike using the charger that came with their bike and an intermediate 12V battery, but these workarounds are bulky and inefficient. They should only be considered as an option of last resort. I have written extensively about my solar conversions. I mention this as proof of real-world experience in this subject matter and not as an example of a low-cost beginner project. Hopefully, my build will provide some inspiration for what is possible. You can do it. Start small and keep it simple. Add more later after you’ve had your first success. It’s not rocket science. If budget is an issue, you may find used solar panels on eBay, craigslist, or your local equivalent. Or reach out to local solar installers or RV/boat supply shops and ask if they have any returned, blemished, or damaged panels they’re willing to donate to you. Most of all, stop “thinking about it” and get out there and start doing something about it. My current build has a 315-watt solar array good for around 80 miles (130km) per day. Just for fun, I recently did a 207 mile (333km) single-day ride using 784 Wh from grid-charged batteries and generating 2266 solar Wh so roughly equivalent to carrying six 500 Wh e-bike batteries. Cover photo by Dutch Solar Cycle, prototype zonnefiets, Solar Application Lab, TU Eindhoven Dutch company Solar Application Lab (SAL) is pursuing the dream of bringing to market the electric Solar-bike that never needs to be plugged in to recharge it.  The design uses small solar panel architecture incorporated into the bike’s wheels. SAL says, ‘It is a new type of mobility that is smart, healthy and sustainable. It’s easy to use, low cost, and provides benefits for individuals and society. Commuters traveling small distances are often stuck in traffic jams but can easily switch to the solar bike to experience the freedom and advantages of this technology.’ The Solar-bike (also called the S-bike) features a front hub motor along with 60 mini solar panels which, SAL says, provides for their generation 1 system’s 396Wh battery with an average of 35 to 40Wh per hour during daytime under the fairly clouded Dutch skies. According to SAL, these figures mean extending an E-biker’s daily range by 45 to 50 kilometers – so if you ride less than 45km daily, you are already ‘unplugged.’ WhatsOrb embraces innovations. Electric bicycles are a ‘transit innovation’ from which the battery is still a hazard for the environment. With mining lithium and cobalt is often child labor involved. Currently, a conventional bicycle without motor and battery is still the environmental way of transportation. WhatsOrb. Before you go! Recommended:  Electric Bicycles And Cars Were One's Classic Models: Retro Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your article about (DIY) electric bikes? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage.'
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