Sun Ride - VideoMonday 10th February 2014
Bicycles are quite rightly held up as the perfect sustainable form of transport - so what has been the evolution of the bike? A proliferation of electric bikes and pedelecs, all to aid the poor rider in his efforts to propel himself alone mechanically, but of course the “green” aspect flies away, as it needs to be charged up, generally from the grid mains, and that is not so “green”.
Some concerned electric bikers will have used renewable energy sources to charge their bikes, but that is probably a step too far for many cyclists. So how about a solar powered electric bike? The problem is that bikes do not have the flat areas that are well placed to absorb enough solar energy to make it worthwhile - but a Cargo Bike does.
Hence, NTS Works have developed the NTS SunCycle pedelec cargo bike, with a 60-watt photovoltaic panel on the cargo hold lid. The panels can fully charge the battery in eight hours - so NTS claim. The panel, which uses noncrystalline solar cells, along with the rest of the equipment adds 2 lb (907 g) of weight of the bikes.
It does mean your bike needs to be out in the sun for eight hours, which could be unlikely for a lot of riders, but it will keep the battery charge higher for longer. This will negate using grid electricity, or at least as much - saving energy and reducing emissions.
The bike uses an NTS’ 250 watt front wheel hub motor, a large electric hub motor and built in gear reduction. The system is pedelec (you have to pedal for the motor to run), and the level of motor assistance available is adjustable from a handle mounted display panel. When you hit a hill you simply push a button to increase the amount of motor assistance and once you crest the top you can set it back. NTS say the lithium-ion battery delivers a range of 25 miles (40 km) each charge.
The drivetrain is a Gates Centertrack belt that doesn’t need lubrication. All bearings, including steering bearings, are sealed cartridge bearings that never need lubrication. The rear hub is a top of the line Shimano Alfine 8 internal geared hub, fully sealed and only requires maintenance every 2 years or 2,000 miles.
The Cargo compartment is lockable with an up to 100 pounds (45 kg) weight capacity.
The SunCycle will be available from May.
Watch the video:
Monday 10th February 2014