Solar electric bike soon in the shop near you
That morning, we ride a bike like no other. The black frame is reduced to a wide band connecting the two wheels. A first pedal stroke, a second, and off you go! In Montrouge (Hauts-de-Seine), we are on the saddle on what could be the bicycle of tomorrow.
Called Sun-E, this Rool’in company prototype is one of the first solar electric bikes in the world. Despite its 25 kilos, a weight comparable to that of conventional electric models, its ride is particularly smooth. Are e-bikes heavy? Read in this post.
Solar e-bike on sale in 2020?
The model will be tested for the first time in a few weeks, in the towns of Montrouge and Issy-les-Moulineaux, by municipal staff and French La Poste. This first step will make it possible to adapt the model according to the feedback of the first users before going for commercialization, by 2020, at the initial price of 5 700 euros.
“We have been working on the motorization of traditional bicycles for several years,” says Antoine d’Acremont, co-founder of Rool’in, a company created in 2013. “A question always came back to our riders, how can we not be blocked by the stress of recharging the battery and have a better autonomy?” He explains.
In 2017, he and his team decided to develop a bike whose frame and front wheel would integrate photovoltaic panels capable of supplying electricity to the engine.
First models of solar bicycles had already been invented, but they were equipped with such wide panels, often placed at the level of the luggage rack, that their circulation in the urban environment was almost impossible.
The challenge for Rool’in was to build an e-bike frame that is practical, lightweight, energy efficient, but also strong enough to withstand the jolts of journeys.
From 18 to 26 kilometers of autonomy in the city
For this, “we have produced custom panels, which are thin layers of polymers in which are encapsulated solar cells. These panels stick to the frame of the bike and the spokes of the wheels. Everything is weather and scratch resistant,” says Antoine d’Acremont.
Another precious feature of these cells is their differentiated functioning. If one cell happens to be in the shade, while the neighboring cell is still in the sun, it still produces energy, unlike the panels installed on the roof, for example. In total, these
The battery and the mains connection allow, if necessary, to bring in additional energy, while the screen indicates the level of charge in real time. The company announces a ten-year lifespan for its e-bike.
The Montrouge start-up is not alone in the niche. Last January, Nokia, the Finnish telecom giant, presented its concept at the CES, the world electronics fair, in Las Vegas (USA).
With three wheels, one at the rear and two at the front, two seats next to each other and the roof, to which photovoltaic panels have been integrated, the Solar Connected Bike is much wider and imposing than Sun-E. “Our goal is to make our vehicle as autonomous as possible,” says Patrick Noël, Nokia’s original bicycle engineer.
A rally of clean bicycles
The current solar e-bike is a concept model and is not intended to be marketed at the moment. “For this project, we were inspired by the Solar Impulse aircraft,” says Patrick Noël. Between 2015 and 2016, this 100% photovoltaic aircraft, created by the Swiss Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, had managed to go around the world.
Still in its infancy, the solar electric bike is already in its first serious run, the Sun Trip, a rally organized every two years since 2013, which connects distant destinations, such as Lyon and Canton (12,000 kilometers), in 2018. Both wheels of the participating bike must be electric and the solar panels, usually attached to the roof or the trailer, must not exceed 5 square meters.
The goal of this rally is to achieve total autonomy during the journey (without recharging the battery via an electrical outlet). “I am absolutely convinced that the solar bike will be, in five to ten years, at the stage that will follow that of the electric bike”, predicts Florian Bailly, the organizer of the rally. To make this happen, the pricing of a solar e-bike needs to go down.
And what about solar roads?
Cycling routes are a dream medium for photovoltaic energy producers. The Dutch company SolaRoad, a pioneer in the sector, has understood this and has already equipped portions of road the not only in the Netherlands, (since 2014), but also in France, in Etampes (Essonne) since 2017, and Montoir-de-Bretagne (Loire-Atlantique) since 2018.
These channels recover solar energy and reinject it directly into the grid, for example, for street lighting. “We are able to produce 90 kWh per square meter per year, which is the consumption of three homes of 100 square meters”, proudly announces Sten de Wit, co-founder of SolaRoad. “Our next step is to build solar roads for cars, which can recharge the vehicles simply by being rolled over,” he says.
Electric school bike tested in France
The S’coolbus is tested the week of May 20 in Tocane-Saint-Apre, France. This nine-seater electric bike is used to take children from the municipality to primary school.
Tocane-Saint-Apre is the second city in France to test the week of May 20 this new school bus after Rouen. This bike has nine seats, including one for the driver.
The S’coolbus picks up the children at home within five kilometers, then the children and the driver pedal together, assisted by electric assistance to get to school. The aim of the S’coolbus company is to make children want to ride a bike, to teach them concepts of traffic rules.
And also to make them aware of the protection of the environment with this environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Are electric bikes good for the environment? Read in this post.
The S’coolbus is made in the Netherlands, it consists of eight passenger seats with adjustable saddles, bars and safety nets with a trunk for school bags, and a roof in case of bad weather.
The town hall of Tocane-Saint-Apre would like to use the S’coolbus for the school bus but also to help the inhabitants of the village who live rather far away from larger cities. Other communes of Périgord region would be interested to test the idea.
E-bike engine and stabilizer that keep you from falling
In order to reduce the number of cycling accidents, a Dutch company is currently developing an anti-fall mechanism to protect senior cyclists.
The world of electric bikes is constantly improving. Manufacturers are working on performance to offer more autonomous, lighter or more connected e-bikes, but also on user safety. A Dutch company has developed a prototype system that should prevent electric bike riders from falling.
Like ABS on cars or brake correctors, this intelligent steering assistant is designed to stabilize the bike in case of abnormal movements. In Holland, the country that has the most bicycle users, cyclists are the first victims of the road, and especially the over 55s. This segment is the main target of this stabilizer mechanism.
Starting from the sad fact that every year, 55 cyclists aged 55 and over lose their lives riding their bikes, the bike manufacturing company Koninklijke Gazelle and the Delft University of Technology have developed this intelligent system.
While doing so, they studied 25 parameters that affect the stabilization cycle. They then equipped the bike with a motor that captures these abnormal inclinations and adjusts the bike, so that it stays as straight as possible.
The tests performed are quite conclusive and help stabilizes the bike when its riding speed is over 4 km / h. There are still many areas of improvement necessary for this tracker to equip e-bikes in mass production.
The stabilization system will be ready for the market in the coming years. Its sole purpose will be to reduce the mortality rate of older cyclists. Great idea of technological innovation to be put at the service of the riders!
The first “hybrid” electric bike
Hybrid cars have already become quite popular on the road, and now, thanks to Wayscral, Michelin, and Norauto, the first hybrid (electric) bike has been built.
A symbol of urban mobility, the bicycle, and, in this case, the electric-assisted bicycle, is constantly evolving.
The Askool brand, which in the past 30 years specialized in electric motors for household appliances or aquariums, has decided to embark on the world of two-wheelers including clean electric bicycles. After years of research and trials, the consortium reinvents the electric bike.
“Wayscral Hybrid” revolution
The start-up Wayscral associated with Michelin and Norauto proposes today a unique concept of hybrid electric assistance bike equipped with a motor and a removable battery.
It is a hybrid e-bike, which is also connected via a smart-phone app. The e-bike is ultra-light compared to the competition. It is a “2 in 1” model. The kit includes a battery that can be just slid under the luggage rack. This makes it possible to transform a traditional bike into an electric-powered one in less than three seconds.
For Christian Delhaye, the Managing Director of Michelin Lifestyle, this is a revolution for bicycles. A revolution that took three years of research and testing that now allows making a bicycle convertible into an electric one with simple battery installation.
A three-year-long e-bike innovation
The development of this unique concept, which is the fruit of a collaboration between the designer and manufacturer Wayscral and the manufacturer Michelin has taken three years.
Three years of research and development and nine patents later, this unique electrification kit allows transforming a conventional bike into an electric one. The rear wheel is used for conversion, not the front one as in other models, such as that of Solex, for example.
The battery kit weighs just 3 kg. After recharging, it is easily slid under the luggage rack, which makes a traditional bike into an urban electric bike in less than three seconds. How to select a city e-bike? Read in this post.
Wayscal Hybrid Powered by Michelin
This lightweight – 3kg only – electrification kit includes a battery, an electric motor, and an electronic controller. The electric motor will turn a special rear tire, which was also developed by the French manufacturer (cost of the tire: 34.90 euros).
The battery is rechargeable via a normal electrical outlet and takes 3 to 4 hours to fully charge. The electrification kit is offered in two models:
- a universal women’s bike and
- a high frame model (for men)
Under normal use conditions, the electrification kit offers an autonomy of 50 km, which is a great range for city e-bikes. How far can e-bike go? Read in this post.
A two-year guarantee
Designed by Wayscral and Michelin, and marketed via Norauto auto centers and soon Midas and Boulanger stores, this electric-assisted bike is much lighter than its competitors. It weighs only 18 kg, including full electrification kit. How heavy are e-bikes? Read in this post.
This hybrid e-bike benefits from a two-year warranty.
Another advantage of this innovation is that the sale price is set below 1000 euros. It sells for 999 euros, which is cheaper than any other offer of equal quality that could be found on the market.
Moreover, in the case of theft, the bike will be replaced with a new one for the price of 649 euros. Given, of course, that the owner has previously removed his electrification kit before leaving the e-bike.
So, now there is an alternative to traditional electric bikes (or pedelecs), which has come to exist. Let’s see how the market takes it!