Dutch Solar Cycle Electric Bike: Never Plug In?!

dutch solar electric bike frontWhat if you never had to plug in your electric bike for a charge?

It looks like that could be a reality in the near future.  The Dutch Solar Cycle is a new “S-Bike” that has solar panels built into both wheels to charge the e-bike battery.

An electric bike is a lightweight electric vehicle that does not require much energy to propel.  In addition, your pedal power helps to offset the energy required.  All of that leads to the reality of a solar powered electric bike, very cool!

Solar Application Lab is a company that has developed a new way to efficiently capture energy from a few solar cells with their patented nano inverter.  The Dutch Solar Cycle is their flagship product to prove the efficiency of their solar panel system.

solar electric bike

Here is an explanation of this new solar technology from the Solar Lab Application website, “Design freedom with solar cells used to be very limited due the amount of straight and unshaded surfaces required to effectively generate electricity. At Solar Application Lab we are working with a patented nano invertor, which is able to harvest energy from any single solar cell or small cluster of cells. We are able to place various types of cells together, in any shape or sized panel desired.”

dutch solar electric bike front wheel

This technology allows solar charging in non-ideal conditions like cloudy days or if the panels are dirty.  Charge time is estimated at 4-6 hours on a sunny day and twice as long when cloudy.  The solar panels charge the battery using induction, similar to how an electric toothbrush charges.  If a charge is needed when the sun has set then there will be the ability to charge the battery from an outlet.

The Dutch Solar Cycle has the potential to never need a charge from an electrical outlet.  To prove that, Guus Faes co-founder of Solar Application Lab, will ride 8,000 km in The Sun Trip solar bike tour.  That is 8,000 km of unsupported touring (no charging outlets or support vehicles) from Milan (Italy) to Astana (Kazakhstan).

Here is a video trailer for The Sun Trip:

Right now Solar Application Lab is using a Bosch equipped e-bike with a 250 watt motor and a 36V 11ah lithium battery as a test bike.  They are working on their own S-Bike design and they hope to have 250 beta test bikes by the end of 2015 to early 2016.  Production bikes are probably 3 years out.

dutch solar electric bike front

The solar panels will probably add $500 to $600 to the price tag of an e-bike.

In addition to powering an e-bike the panels can also be a power source for fun.  Marc Peters, founder of Solar Application Lab explains, “our philosophy revolves around modular solar technology (resilience to shading and soiling due to unique and patented nano-inverter) that truly lives up to the slogan ‘power to the people’ as the panels can be removed from the bike and function in a different context, for example people setting up their own party that requires chilled beers & beverages, of course some complementary music, and 2 S-bikes to power it all :-)”

dutch solar electric bike crowd

The Dutch Solar Cycle has been drawing crowds and it will most likely be in the media a lot more.

And here is an interesting idea: a solar electric bike could be “greener” than a conventional bicycle.

Stay tuned for more e-bike news and reviews.

-Pete

P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips!

Comments

  1. Raymond Dimock says

    Idea looks good on paper, but actual ride of bicycle with strong crosswinds pushing on the spokeless rims could be dangerous with possible loss of control.

  2. says

    I think the thought of side winds causing loss of control is very far reaching. Although I am not an engineer, I would theorize that the aerodynamic flow of air passing the sides of the wheel would be an offset any side pressures from side winds. Second the low center of gravity pressure compared to a persons body riding the bicycle is far less. It would have to be a very very strong gust to create a loss of control.

    • Ernesto Gomez says

      I am a cyclist and an engineer, and I can tell you that wind plays a very important part on the aerodynamics of a bicycle, a not so important gust of wind on a large surface like this, specially on the front wheel could easily lead to loss of control. Anyway, this is a great idea if we are talking about rear wheel on cargo bikes or, even better, cargo trycycles where the wind would have a much lower influence.

      • Tony says

        Yes, the very first time I thought was why in the world didn’t they put it on the back wheel?? It also would not be that ugly in the rear, and you could hide it with some solar panels. Thanks

      • says

        I disagree I”’ve been riding bikes & bicycles for years 63′ to 2016 you do the math….I have ridden with fully covered wheels and the only place I’ve found it to make a difference is in the water……and once on a road trip on my
        Harley-Davidson in Wyoming a cross wind of about 45 mph caused me to change lanes……
        A spoked rim may have made a difference!!But I doubt it,the side wind was more about pushing on all the rest of the bike, The tiny little area of the rims didn’t matter, So I believe any concern over the wind blockage,because of the covered spokes if pure rhetoric and is just some crap thrown out by a small minded person needing something to frett over………the covered spoke area is a great idea However I doubt that that it will do you much good!! kinda like a screen door on a submarine!!

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