The SunPedal Ride is a project to raise awareness towards increasing the use of electric mobility and solar energy – a sustainability initiative.
This project was started by Sushil Reddy, who held a Guinness World Record for the longest journey on an electric bike in India in 2016.
The idea of this project was born with the motivation to raise awareness among the people in India about clean energy and transportation ensuring sustainability.
The project involves impact and outreach driven tours on solar powered electric bikes across the world while interacting with people throughout the journey.
During his rides, Sushil encourages people to use renewable energy, highlights the importance of sustainable solar energy and electric transportation, including global trends of solar energy, and how people can integrate solar energy into their lives.
This is done via personal interactions, seminars & presentations, demos of solar products and media outreach.
India Edition – The SunPedal Ride – May to July 2016
The SunPedal Ride was started in India since there is a pressing need to educate people about renewable energy sources, especially, solar energy, given the fact that India has 300 sunny days in a year – a huge potential.
India has an ambitious target of 100 GW of installed solar power by 2022. In order to achieve this target, skill development is a key aspect to ensure sustainability.
Hence, awareness is the first step to trigger the mindset shift towards skill development as a sustainable source. The SunPedal Ride contributes towards achieving this goal.
In the summer of 2016, IIT Bombay alumnus Sushil Reddy rode a solar-powered electric bicycle through nine states of India in 79 days, traveling over 4,613 miles across the length and breadth of the country.
The vehicle of travel? A solar-powered device, of course. Sushil and team welded a trolley to the back of an electric bicycle and loaded solar panels onto the cart.
The e-bike reduced the physical effort Sushil needed to put into the journey by 50%, and the batteries kept charging thanks to a direct input from the solar panels. He also carried solar lamps and solar mobile chargers for his demonstrations.
Enroute, he delivered seminars on solar energy along with demonstrating the use of devices like solar chargers and solar lamps to people living in cities, small towns and villages.
The initiative, which he called “The SunPedal Ride,” earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the ‘Longest Journey on a Motorized Bicycle’
France Edition – The SunPedal Ride and Sun Trip Tour – June & July 2017
Word of his journey spread across borders and Sushil was invited to be the special guest at the Sun Trip Tour in July 2017. The Sun Trip Tour is a rally on solar-powered e-bikes which takes a route through France, Italy and Switzerland.
The purpose of the tour, much like Sushil’s ideology, is to promote sustainable living through the use of renewable energy. The tour had first been organised in 2013, and Sushil’s participation in the third edition was India’s first representation in the rally.
But before joining the 35 participants on the two-week journey through the Alps, Sushil decided to go off on his own for the SunPedal Ride France edition.
He rode 2,000 kms and met with students at various universities to exchange ideas about sustainable living. There was great support from the French Embassy in India and the Indo-French Chamber of Commerce.
According to Sushil, France has already moved towards a sustainable living model; it’s just that they are doing it with nuclear power since most of the country does not receive as much sunlight to utilize solar power.
California Edition – The SunPedal Ride – August 2017
Hero Eco Electric Bikes supported Sushil by providing A2B ebikes for a similar journey in California.
A month after his France journey, Sushil found himself in the United States, beginning the SunPedal Ride USA edition. Along each of his trips, Sushil found support from alumni of IIT-B; and this was the case in the USA too.
Rinal Chheda and Anuj Karkare, both IIT Bombay alumni, joined Sushil on the journey from San Francisco to San Diego on A2B electric bikes.
Sushil, Rinal and Anuj were invited by former students of his alma mater who were residing in California and helped to plan the trip, including providing accommodation. Sushil rode along the coast from San Francisco to San Diego for 15 days.
Warmshowers is a community of bikers across the world who offer to host other riders during their journeys. Most of the hosts from the USA ride were from the Warmshowers community.
Sushil and his team capped off the US journey with a presentation at the Solar Power International Conference in Las Vegas.
Beginning 19th August 2017, the solar awareness ride covered areas like Santa Cruz, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks, Long Beach, and Dana Point before touching the finishing line in San Diego, 31st August.
The SunPedal Ride aims to create further outreach by more rides across the world on the solar electric bikes while participating in outreach and awareness events.
The next edition of The SunPedal Ride is going to be held in Iceland in September 2018. Dr. Fridrik Larsen, the founder of the CHARGE Energy Branding Conference, invited the team to do a similar solar bike ride in Iceland and participate in a panel discussion in electro-mobility at the CHARGE Energy Branding Conference. IKEA is supporting the project in Iceland by providing a solar ebike.
The SunPedal Ride is recognized as one of the 1000 impact solutions by The Solar Impulse Foundation and by the International Solar Alliance which is a collaborative approach between Government of India and France to promote solar energy across 120 member nations between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
SolarEdge Technologies, Lava Mobiles, Exhibitions India Group, Sun First Solar, Intersolar, Mahindra Susten, Zoomcar, Zostel, Applied Materials, A2B Electric Bikes, The Sun Trip Organisation, QOS Energy, International Solar Alliance, Hulikkal Bikes, MySun, BridgeToIndia, Fastrack, Accor Hotels & Declic Eco