Everything You Need To Know About Solar Electric Bikes | Solar Power E-Bike Charging | Why Use a Solar Charger for Your E-bike?
Many riders favor the use of electric bicycles as they are undeniably energy efficient. You can drive as far as a hundred miles on a dollar worth of electric power. If you are one of those passionate about the environment, you may now opt for a better cycling option – solar electric bike charging.
There are now manufacturers in the solar power industry that have produced portable solar panels. These manufacturers are also building charging stations for their e-bike models.
In this article, we will discuss the possibilities you may enjoy with solar electric bikes. Find out with us if a solar e-bike is worth pursuing.
Why Use a Solar Charger for Your E-bike?
Solar electric bike charging can be beneficial. Like your standard electric bike batteries, solar chargers are also lightweight and portable, allowing you to carry them on every adventure. Being able to maximize the capacity of a solar charging e-bike while camping with friends is something you will surely love and appreciate.
Solar e-bikes prevent you from the burden of having to pedal a drained battery and heavy electric bike back home. Furthermore, solar charging is more of an economical option compared to conventional e-bike charging that you do every night at home. You will need nothing else but the sun, and you will be surprised at how much energy you are able to soak in.
Not to mention, you are able to help conserve the environment as well!
Help Conserve The Environment
Choosing an e-bike as your primary mode of transportation over cars goes a long, long way to truly minimize the carbon footprint.
While electric bicycles are built to be environmentally sustainable, you can exploit much of this eco-friendly potential through solar electric bike charging. Without a doubt, solar e-bikes are a more sustainable source that serves you as well as electricity.
Solar Charging Options for Your Electric Bicycle
There are different charging options you can choose from, these range from stationary down to portable solar panels that can be carried on the back of your electric bike. There are also power trailers that you can find. Crossed fingers – one day, more manufacturers would produce electric bikes that are exclusively built to use solar power.
Hooking Up Your Electric Bicycle to the Solar Panel
For you to generate adequate solar power to charge your electric bike, the solar panels you will be using must come with a good wattage output. Ideally, it would be best if you opted for panels with a cost less than a dollar per watt. One example, a 100-watt solar panel for $100 would be a decent deal.
There are budget-friendly panels with a small rating, but you’ll see that it isn’t really cheap after all when calculating the dollar per watt. For instance, a 10-watt solar panel for $25 isn’t cheap since it indicates $2.5/watt.
To sum it up, opt for a solar panel higher than 60-watt below a dollar per watt.
What Are Your Solar Panel Options?
Stationary Solar Panels
One option is to buy a large, strong panel that is made to be stationary. You can install stationary solar panels around your home, where you can efficiently hook your electric bike after a session of cycling.
Or, you may get a spare battery for your electric bike so that you can charge that one battery when the sun is out as you go to work with the other battery. Once you get home, you can then charge the used battery and replace it with the charged spare.
However, keep in mind that buying larger solar panels will cost you more. The advantage is that when purchasing bigger solar panels, you maximize your battery’s charging potential.
Stationary charging stations minimize the chances of vandalism and theft, especially when installed inside your home. Nevertheless, they may limit the range of journeys and would only be best for short daily commutes. Basically, stationary solar panels are a less expensive option you may want to consider.
Foldable and Portable Solar Panels
Foldable and Portable solar panels are more of a flexible choice for longer drives since it allows you to bring the solar panels along with your adventure. Portable solar chargers come in handy when planning a multi-day trip in the woods where there isn’t electricity.
When using these panels, you won’t have to fear the chances of getting stranded once your e-bike battery runs out of power. However, you will be constrained in the aspects of power capacity and since these are relatively smaller panels.
There are fewer choices available with foldable panels. They tend to be expensive than those mentioned above. Another consideration is that the portable panels will add weight to your already heavy e-bike — and also the clutter, since you must find a way to keep them when they are folded.
As it is impossible to charge your e-bike battery when driving, you will have to pause the drive to get the right amount to get going. The weather may also be your worst enemy. If there isn’t enough sunlight, the solar panel will be of no use.
Solar Panels on a Rear Pack
Some riders opt to install solar panel bike trailers. They allow stronger and bigger solar panels to be linked to the trailer. This option is convenient for riders who drive long distances on their e-bikes. The setup will enable you to charge the battery even when riding on the trail.
Although, this implies that the routes you follow are limited. You won’t be able to venture into off-road trails that need much squeezing through. Or, navigating rugged bike paths with a gravel fat-tire electric bicycle, for example.
Another factor to consider is the weight. Knowing that the solar panel pack is installed on the rear of your electric bike will affect your stability and balance when driving.
Finally, this third option is the most expensive on the list, given that you need to invest in a trailer and other attachments in addition to your solar panels.
Nothing ever goes wrong with a helmet on. Give yourself peace of mind when driving, so get one that fits perfectly on your head.
What Are The Advantages of Solar Power E-bike Charging?
There are foldable solar panels that are based on blanket-type designs, presenting a large panel divided into smaller panels. The good side is that you can fold the panel into sizes where you can fold inside a briefcase, which means accessible transportation and storage.
This innovative design has a hook built for effortless carrying; there is a pocket where you can store the charger necessary to make the most out of solar panels. As a result, you have the option to carry the panel, store it in your backpack, or attach it to your electric bicycle.
Conventional Way of Charging
Sadly, portable solar chargers for your electric bike can’t store energy and are only made to charge the battery directly. After all, you can’t open the panel when riding, so it’s a no-brainer that it is only made for direct charging.
Nevertheless, the best decision is that you choose a neat and straightforward solar panel charger. A solar panel charger that provides a renewable form of energy when needed. As long as you have the source of some natural light, you need not to worry about the battery capacity.
Lightweight and Portable
Basically, the charger is made with an easy and lightweight carry frame that comes in handy for riders planning on overnight trips. Any rider will have a little trouble, given the extra weight.
The materials that make the panels aren’t only lightweight, but they are also durable. These panels are secured explicitly from various outdoor conditions, protecting them from tough elements and from wearing easily.
Few additions for cyclists to carry both the charger and the panel. Additions include a hook where you can attach to your cargo e-bike, for example, as well as another pocket where you can keep the charger.
Easy to Install
Solar electric bike chargers are easy to install, whether you opt for a stationary charging station or a portable one that you can store on your e-bike. The usage is somewhat straightforward once the solar panels are installed.
When charging the e-bike battery, all you must do is open and spread the solar panels, connect the charger to a panel before connecting it to the e-bike. These simple steps will allow you to relax while waiting for the battery to charge.
Undeniably, this is the most straightforward option for charging your electric bike. It may require more spending but indeed, it is easy to operate.
These solar panels can survive the most demanding conditions you may encounter when riding outdoors. The panels are kept within a fabric that provides protection when tackling adverse elements. The material is also resistant to easy tear and scratch.
Are there E-bikes that are Specifically Designed to Use Solar Power?
Currently, there aren’t many known manufacturers selling electric bikes that integrate solar capacity. It is indeed a shame, knowing that it offers a much convenient option for battery charging.
Nevertheless, there are few specialized e-bike models available. These solar e-bikes will surely make a noise in the market as the demand for renewable energy grows. Sun E-bikes and ELF E-bikes are two companies leading the journey to launch solar electric bikes.
These companies have produced prototypes with photovoltaic cells, e-bikes that can achieve 20 mph with e-assist and 30mph with pedaling. It won’t be soon until we see what comes more in the solar e-bike industry, though!
Solar Electric Bikes | Our Verdict
If you wish to experiment with solar electric bikes, you must consider that some riders may not consider it as an absolute alternative to e-bike cycling. Not only is the cost a considerable amount of cash to acquire, but it also comes with some disadvantages mentioned above. However, if you are serious about maximizing the sun's power, a solar electric bike is an excellent option for you.