DIY 1,500W solar power electric bike beats a car for kid trips and groceries


Final month we featured an superior DIY photo voltaic cargo trailer that an Electrek reader constructed for his electrical bike. Simply in case you wanted any extra proof that our readers are a number of the handiest and most intelligent eco-DIYers on the planet, we’ve acquired one other spectacular solar-powered electrical bike to point out you. This time it does double obligation as a college drop-off car for the children and a grocery getter.

This construct involves us from Electrek reader Luke, who constructed this challenge through the pandemic with the aim of changing a household automotive with a high-utility electrical bike as a substitute. He did so by closely modifying his Rad Energy Bikes RadWagon 4 electrical cargo bike.

Whereas that bike is already a formidable cargo e-bike with loads of utility, Luke made numerous upgrades to assist the bike higher carry out the heavy-duty each day use he required of it.

Earlier than we even get to the photo voltaic addition, right here’s an inventory of all of the upgrades that Luke carried out.

First, he swapped out the inventory controller for one with double the ability. The brand new 1,500W controller is mounted beneath a varnished plywood platform that he constructed for the midframe. On high of that platform is a 200W DC-DC converter to offer a 12V outlet for any equipment Luke needs to run from the bike. He additionally painted it white to stop it from heating up as a lot within the solar. Subsequent to it’s the photo voltaic cost controller, which we’ll get to in a minute. He used waterproof SAE connectors for the entire connections to make the system as water-resistant as moderately doable.

solar powered electric bike

It must be famous that doubling the ability of the controller, which basically doubles the ability pulled from the battery and equipped to the motor, nearly definitely voids the bike’s guarantee. With Luke’s degree of handiness although, I’m unsure he actually wants the guarantee anymore.

From expertise, I may inform you that working your motor hotter with an overpowered controller can ultimately fry the motor, particularly should you push it too laborious on hill climbing or different high-power eventualities. Luke is cautious about his energy supply, although, to maintain that in verify, and he defined that if he ever does prepare dinner the motor, he’ll simply change it.

Subsequent, he swapped out the mechanical disc brakes for hydraulics, which he stated has been an enormous enchancment by lowering the necessity to modify and tune the brakes. Hydraulic brakes don’t undergo from cable stretch, which will be exacerbated on heavy-hauling cargo e-bikes performing quite a few stops whereas laden with kiddos and kit. He additionally added a suspension seat publish to the saddle to assist enhance the trip on the rigid-frame bike.

Lastly, he added a photo voltaic setup, consisting of a 50W SunPower photo voltaic panel mounted on a customized light-weight plywood body. He used foam door seals to scale back vibration and captive threaded inserts as a substitute of nuts for a clean-looking set up.

solar powered electric bike

The body was related to the Rad Energy Bikes Conestoga accent, mounted with Rad’s solar cowl cover shade.

The photo voltaic panel feeds right into a GenaSun MPPT enhance cost controller to recharge the e-bike’s battery instantly from the panel.

The 50W photo voltaic panel trickle fees the battery, and a full day of solar would possible put round 50% of the battery’s cost again into it. In different phrases, so long as Luke makes use of round 50% or much less of the battery per day, he possible would by no means must plug the bike into an outlet to recharge.

That could be a distinct risk for the reason that bike will get used for 2 important duties: dropping the children off at college and doing grocery runs for the household. For the previous, the children sit within the again (and Luke added some gorilla grip tape to the floorboards so the wooden wasn’t as slippery when moist). The entrance basket holds their backpacks on the best way to high school.

The Rad Energy Bikes Conestoga accent photo voltaic panel is mounted above and features a waterproof enclosure for the rear passengers. To maintain himself dry, Luke used a type of Chinese language scooter waterproof canopies. He didn’t have a photograph of it in motion, however defined that the bike “appears to be like like a brilliant blue rickshaw when put in.” He defined that he solely pulls it out for heavy rains however that it really works nicely and may even stand up to using at speeds as much as 35 km/h (22 mph) when correctly tensioned within the entrance.

For grocery runs, Luke places a corrugated plastic field within the child provider and may match round 4 grocery baggage in it.

solar powered electric bike

It’s a slick answer that showcases how electrical bicycles will be efficient automotive replacers, even for extra cargo-intensive duties like buying or carrying a number of passengers.

This challenge concerned rather more intensive modifications than most individuals would want, however that additionally means Luke ended up with a one-of-a-kind electrical bike that’s excellent for his actual wants.

Previously, we’ve seen different simplified electrical bike solar-charging setups (which I additionally recreated myself) and even realized of circumstances the place different riders have saved tens of 1000’s of {dollars} over a number of years by giving up their automobiles in favor of electrical bikes.

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