Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Salt lake, UT
Bikes: This list got too long: several ‘bents, an urban utility e-bike, and a dahon D7 that my daughter has absconded with.
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First, let me say that I am an e-bike proponent; however, I do not think that they are well suited for touring. I would not even consider one for my 100k weekend rides. They are an excelet commuting alternative and I believe that they can be that last mile (or last 5 mile) solution that can make riding the bus and other forms of mass transit both practicable and palatable for many people.
That being said, I would like to play with the idea of putting high efficiency solar panels (which are generally hard and a bit heavy) in a position to serve as a roof on a trike and then add electrics. However, I haven't spent too much time with this idea and panel output, rider contribution and motor draw. No matter what it would be slow, but possibly not much more than a conventional bike. This is an attempt to address the basic reason that an e-bike is unsuitable for touring, range; add to this problem that prime solar hours are also prime riding hours. So, the result is that the panels must be in charging position while riding. Due to issues of balance, this is hard on a conventional bike.
I did see one story by a person that used a trailer and put the panels on the top of his trailer. That worked well for him. For a long tour, where one is taking a trailer anyway, it might be a workable solution. It just seems to me that the real issue you are trying to address should not be stealth camping (with the size of his trailer it looked like there was almost room to sleep in it); but rather, e-bike touring.