This solar-powered electric bicycle is making a 6,500-mile loop around US

Environment

Sushil Reddy is no stranger to long-distance electric bicycles rides, having broken the Guinness World Record back in 2016 with a 7,424 km (4,613 mile) ride across India. Since then he’s set his sights on solar power, performing several more long-distance solar-powered electric bike rides. Now he’s halfway through a 10,460 km (6,500 mile) ride around the US on a custom-built solar-powered electric bike as part of the SunPedal Ride project.

As the SunPedal Ride project explained:

“The SunPedal Ride is an outreach project started by Sushil Reddy in 2016. The idea is to have conversations about clean energy and sustainable mobility via endurance journeys undertaken on zero tail-pipe emission vehicles. Each edition of The SunPedal Ride is a new challenge which is executed by a team and supported by a group of sponsors/partners to spread the message via public interactions. A medium of a zero tail-pipe emissions vehicle is used in each edition of The SunPedal Ride.”

Past editions of the ride have included solar-powered tuktuk three-wheelers and other long-distance solar e-bike rides.

This new ride around the US will be one of the project’s longest yet.

Sushil is joined by sustainable energy activist Luis Fourzan on the epic ride.

The pair started in North Carolina and have made a long arc along the northern US to their current location in Montana.

Over the next five to six weeks, the pair will continue south along the West Coast before turning east and heading across the desert Southwest en route to their final destination of Texas.

Sushil’s Yuba bicycle is a custom-converted electric bike that is powered by a pair of 50W SunPower solar panels for a total of 100W of photovoltaics.

Assuming 70W of real-world power and eight hours of sunlight per day, that could recharge a typical 500 Wh e-bike battery each day.

With extra leg power, the trip is likely to be a healthy combination of the sun’s solar energy and Sushil’s lunch energy.

The batteries used on the bike are far from typical though, and instead are the innovative modular LiGo batteries developed by Vancouver-based Grin Technologies.

Grin’s thru-axle motor was also used for the conversion, providing propulsion for the e-bike.

You can see the e-bike in action in Sushil’s Twitter video below. He sure seems to be booking it!

Solar-powered electric bicycle rides have proven to be popular choices for raising awareness of sustainable energy for transportation.

While solar-powered electric cars are making progress, the efficiencies required to supply enough energy to the more powerful vehicles often result in wacky designs.

Solar-powered electric bicycles, on the other hand, can easily achieve much more of their energy purely from solar charging. With solar canopies or solar trailers that offer more space for panels, many solar e-bikes can actually obtain most or all of their energy from the sun.

Solar panel innovations sure are taking their sweet time to bring us smaller, more efficient options. But as the technology improves, solar-powered light electric vehicles could prove useful tools for sustainable transportation alternatives – especially in areas where traditional grid-charging options are limited.

What do you think of Sushil’s ride? Let us know in the comments section below!


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