Electric Bicycles with Solar Panels

The photovoltaic panels and bicycles are proving to be a great “tandem” to achieve a sustainable greener vehicle mobility, although dependent on electricity, it is obtained through renewable energies.

The design of electric bicycles with solar panels is experiencing a boom, although they are still quite unusual. The objective? Get them to serve as an alternative to the car or the bike in the average distances, those for which the conventional bike falls short. In this case, interestingly, it is not about generating electricity by pedaling, but rather to avoid having to do so. In this Green Ecology article, we tell you all about electric bicycles with solar panels.

Endless models

The Solar Leos, for example, is a bicycle with a carbon fiber structure that has an ultra-thin panel incorporated in the frame and can be self-sufficient up to 20 kilometers in assisted mode, or about 16 kilometers if we use it entirely electrical, says the founder of Laos, Armin Oberhollenzer.

The battery accumulates the energy collected by the panel, so as long as there is light, it will be charged. On the other hand, if we make a full charge your 36 V battery allows you to travel 90 or 72 kilometers, depending on the mode.

Finalist at the 2013 Spark Awards, the Ele Solar Bicycle is another interesting model. It can be used as a standard bike, in assisted and electric mode, and its power admits both solar and conventional energy. For the rest, its design is compact and the adjustable panels, placed in replacement of the spokes.

Curling the loop, a Singapore company has created a bicycle, the EHITS (Energy Harvesting Intermodal Transport System) capable of generating solar and wind energy thanks to the installation of a solar panel in the frame and two wind generators in the broken wheels of the disk.

Going to the practical, it is curious the bicycle that becomes a solar panel. It has been made possible by the designer Sencer Ozdemir, and his creation is called Velosphere E-Bike, an electric bike that looks like a mountain bike capable of quickly becoming a panel when it is parked. This is how it recharges, and does it at full speed, because its elliptical shape is ideal to maximize the arrival of light, without further complications.

Add a simple gadget

In addition to the different models, there are accessories applicable to standard bicycles, whose operation can be controlled through mobile devices, such as the gadget on which the Daymak company is working, a system that allows a kilometer of autonomy for each hour of exposure.

And, of course, there is the option of manufacturing a photovoltaic installation to charge our electric bike, mainly since the bike is usually used when the weather is good, which coincides with the conditions the panel needs to perform well.

But, are they ecological?

We are talking about bicycles, solar energy… but in reality, they depend on a source of electricity that, although it does not pollute, the production of solar panels, their maintenance and replacement imply a more significant pollution than that of the traditional bike.

However, within the urban context in which they could be used, that is, in medium distances, they are much more ecological than other alternatives, such as public transport or the private motor vehicle, be it a motorcycle or a car.

In general terms, the efficiency of the electric bike is equivalent to about 1600 kilometers for every 5 liters of gasoline and, if it also works with solar energy, the green advantage is still higher, since it comes from renewable sources.

The future of the solar bike

Today the models of solar bikes are still rare, but the boom that the sector is experiencing in this field is enough reason for hope to trust that the bicycle, the ecological means of transport par excellence, end up evolving in this sense. Also, with the evolution of the lighter and more economical photovoltaic materials, the advances could bring us many joys.

On the one hand, if the costs are cheaper, the electric bike may be the future of the electric bike. In turn, maybe this is the solar electric bikes… And, what will be the future of the latter? Its popularization is its first challenge, no doubt, but we must also pay attention to new technologies, which among other things promise to be much cheaper than photovoltaic solar cells for the collection of solar energy with which to boost them.

Instead of photovoltaic panels, which include silicon semiconductors, for example, perovskite makes it possible to manufacture more efficient cells and even apply them through a spray on all types of surfaces. And we are also working on technologies that allow us to make charges on cloudy days or under challenging conditions, such as when the panels get dirty, the objective of Solar Application Lab.

Pulverize photovoltaic cells through a spray, and be able to do it on irregular surfaces, would be a revolutionary application when manufacturing bicycles in series because this system facilitates the production at scale. Science fiction? It seems, but it is also a reality that is getting closer.

In fact, some similar initiatives are surprising, such as the Pure Fix Glow Bikes collection. They are not electric, but they do use a paint that gives them visibility thanks to a solar color that is charged during the day, to then shine in the dark. They do not provide energy, but they do take advantage of the light to put an end once and for all to the problem of visibility.

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