Sanyo Completes Installation of Solar Parking Lots for Electric Bikes in Tokyo
Muscles and Sun
Sanyo Electric has completed the installation of two solar parking lots in the Setagaya ward in Tokyo, Japan, and a third smaller solar parking is coming. The two big stations will each have 40 Eneloop electric bikes, and the small one 20. These will be available as "community bicycles" for local residents and visitors (kind of like regular bike-sharing, but no details on membership conditions yet).
Sanyo writes: "For each of the bicycle parking lots operated by the city of Setagaya at Keio Line Sakurajosui Station and Tokyu Den-en Toshi Line Sakurashinmachi Station, HIT solar panels (approximate 46m2, 7.56kW) are installed on the roof to generate sufficient power to recharge the batteries of a total of 100 "eneloop bike" units and illuminate the LED parking lot lights. [...]
By combining "HIT solar panels" with "lithium-ion battery systems", SANYO's Solar Parking Lot enables recharging the electric hybrid bicycles without any commercial power source, even at night or on a rainy day. The lithium-ion battery system also features AC power outlets that can be used to power external equipment during an emergency. In addition, the installed system incorporates a "DC charger." The "DC charger" enables photovoltaic energy generated and stored in DC (direct current) to be used directly and effectively without AC (alternative current) conversion. "
I think it would be a good idea to incorporate these kinds of e-bike charging stations with regular bike-sharing programs. Maybe you'd have a choice between a regular bike for short trips, and a e-bike for longer trips (maybe e-bikes would only be available to members who've made a bigger security deposit or something like that). Even without the solar panels, incorporating e-bikes in bike-share programs would reduce pollution by displacing car trips.