Electric Bikes - Solar power on an electric bike
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07-30-08, 01:48 PM
Well, I was just thinking, seeing as these bikes are often used for long trips where the power is used only sparingly, would it be possible to use a solar panel to extend the range? For example, if you hooked this (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/vw-solar-panel-12v-battery-charger-obd-ii_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQitemZ110273543748QQsspagenameZRSSQ3aBQ3aSRCHQ3aUSQ3a101) solar panel into a trickle charger and then into a 36v 12AH SLA battery would it give any noticeable increase in range? Plus, simply having the bike locked up outside would charge the batts.
07-30-08, 02:27 PM
I've been wondering the same thing, it would be great if we could get some solar juice for our batteries while riding!
07-30-08, 04:13 PM
Solar Trike :thumb:
Several projects on this web page that I'd advise to read:
That website (http://www.builditsolar.com) is on my daily-read list. Excellent solar resource, especially on solar water heating and air heating.
As far as locking it up outside goes... Considering that bicycles are already pretty theft prone, a bike *with* a PV panel on it would be considered the grand-prize of bikes to steal. I'm already breaking my brains for 2 years on how to install PV panels to the house in such a way that they're theft-proof. If you find a way to do mount them to a bike without either the bike or the PV panels getting stolen, please let me know.
07-30-08, 05:19 PM
You can do it, I simply don't see the point of doing it on an electric bike. The maximum reasonable amount of panelling like that seen on the solar trike is only enough to recharge the trike over a period of time, not nearly enough to operate the vehicle continuously. The trike still has to move to a rest location and sit it out.
So, why carry the panels on the vehicle then? It adds weight, reduces aerodynamics and manoeuvrer ability, increases the risk of the panels being damaged or stolen, and doesn't offer any real world advantage over having a permanent mounted solar system at home, and ensuring that your vehicle has the capacity to make it back to that system each night. If you were building a vehicle that was not returning to a home location each time, perhaps. Solar cars for instance, have the design down to suit their needs fairly well. But, for most users, its simply better to carry the power you need, and replenish at an efficient source.
You could design a static system which would still offer off-grid recharging, but could also be used for varied applications, provide higher power output, and keep the electric bike a lighter, likely faster, and less vulnerable vehicle. Larger arrays with a reserve bank in order to ensure that the solar vehicle was up and running much more swiftly and more reliably, and allowing the home based system to share power with other needs when an excess was available would be the more practical option from an environmental viewpoint.
I've actually got solar on my bike, a 3W amorphous panel. Feeds the PB Superflash, NiteRider MiNewt mini USB, my phone, mp3 player, and small speakers. But the 3W panel folds up, fits in a pocket in my messenger bag, and is gone. A 60 watt panel would be a noticeable burden on the ride.
Thats my opinion though = )
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