Image credit: Solarbike.
Solarbike specialises in electric conversion kits for bicycles. But the business's founders, both research scientists at the University of Western Australia, have been working on a way to easily have electric bikes powered by the sun. After some trial and error, which they transparently document, they've arrived at reasonably affordable photovoltaic systems that allow electric bike owners to ride like a solar wind. (video of solar bike in use, after the jump)Starting at $1,150 AUD, the solar bike kits consist of a photovoltaic panel, a regulator, a deep cycle sealed lead acid AGM (absorbed glass mat) battery and a modified sine wave inverter. Position the solar panel where it will receive five hours of sunlight, plug in the various components and you'll soon be enjoying renewable energy powered transport.
For urban commuters this a far more practical solution than mounting the solar panels directly on the bike itself. Less chance of theft or damage.
Even you don't invest in their solar modules, Solarbike sell conversion kits that will turn most any bicycle with 26" or 700c rims into a fully fledged electric bike. You could then charge it from your household power outlet. Which if you wanted to pursue the green aspect could be connected to utility-provided GreenPower or a grid connected photovoltaic system. Such conversion kits are about $900 from Solarbike. They can mail or freight them, although it seems that they've also made them available through a number of select retail bike outlets.
More Solar Bikes
• Ride like the Sun: Electrobike-Solar Electric Bicycle
• Solar Powered Electric Bicycle. Now We're Talking.
• Cyclist Musician To Tour with Cello and Recycled, Solar-Powered, Electric-Assist Bicycle Trailer