SunRider Increases Production of Solar-Powered Cargo Electric Bike for City Logistics
Chris Cramer and Chris van Houdt, friends for over 10 years, met four and a half years ago and decided to start a business together. They wanted to do something that would have a positive impact on the environment. Chris Cramer has experience as CEO as well as leading large multicultural teams, while Chris van Houdt has over 15 years of international sales experience in global companies. During this meeting, the first thing that came to mind was a bicycle, which they drew on the whiteboard along with some notes during their brainstorming session. As they continued their session on transformational business models and applications for a bike-centric business, a few things stood out:
- Bikes nowadays are more and more electric and therefore need a battery
- The battery would need to be recharged
iii. Widespread adoption of electric vehicles (electric cars, trucks, buses, etc.) would require upgrades to local grid infrastructure
- Grids in most places are powered primarily by fossil fuels
- Some places have weak and intermittent networks
- Some locations are remote and completely off the grid
They then decided to build an energy-efficient electric cargo bike with solar panels built into the cargo compartment. This meant that:
- The battery is charged by the sun while the bike is in use or at rest during the day
- Cyclists will benefit from significant additional range when pedaling
iii. Zero dependence on charging stations
- No need to saturate the electrical network
- Save labor costs to charge/recharge the battery
After deciding to focus their business on an eco-friendly solar-powered cargo bike, they then sought to address some of the challenges faced by commercial operators whose operations involve the last mile delivery and service areas. They then sought to solve the most important problems of the B2B segment such as:
- Parking problems in congested city centers
- High operating costs given constantly rising fossil fuel prices
iii. Meeting targets for reducing emissions and expanding Emission Free Zones in major European cities
- Address employee well-being and vitality as cycling helps employees improve their fitness and vitality
- But, most importantly, they want to contribute to a healthier planet by reducing the use of fossil fuels in their last mile delivery
They then put together a team including several engineers who had already won competitions in solar cars and boats. Their cargo bike, now aptly named the SunRider, has a 1.6 kWh lithium-ion battery charged using the built-in 545 Wp solar photovoltaic panels. The loading compartment can hold 1 standard European pallet and can carry up to 150 kg. With a full battery, the bike has a range of approximately 100 km depending on route conditions and duty cycle. The 545W of solar panels on board means that on bright sunny days the battery can be fully charged from the solar panels giving an additional 100km of range and is ideal for locations with weak and intermittent grids or remote off-grid areas. .
SunRider is also a member of the Alliance For Solar Mobility (ASOM), an international cooperative platform aimed at establishing and promoting the solar mobility industry. Among others, SunRider also collaborates with Lightyear, TNO and Sono Motors. Cargo bikes have proven to be faster and much cleaner than traditional vans in the last mile logistics and distribution industries. SunRider claims that compared to a typical diesel, it reduces CO2 emissions by 97.7% and 83.5% compared to a standard rear-loader (grid-charged) electric cargo bike.
Deloitte’s Discover the Future 2020 forecast for UK technology, media and telecommunications also sums up the appeal of e-bikes. Battery support makes it much easier to pedal for longer. Average speeds on e-bikes can be up to 50% faster than standard bikes. Battery assist also helps accelerate take-off from stops. Riders also benefit from a power boost when climbing, hauling heavy loads, facing headwinds, and where a rider may encounter a combination of all of these at the same time. All of these, together with real-time tracking through apps, make e-bikes, and especially cargo versions, perfect for the home delivery industry.
SunRider already works with several big players such as IKEA, Vodafone Ziggo (Ziggo) and BENU pharmacies. Pharmacies are a key target market, as medicines require fast, refrigerated deliveries for large volumes of small packages.
Vodafone Ziggo states that “the SunRider has a spacious trunk in which technicians can easily store their equipment and keep it waterproof. The exercise gained by pedaling will also help improve their health. But this bike has yet another advantage: it generates solar energy. Solar panels that convert the sun’s rays into energy have been fitted to both the sides and top of the cargo bed.
They will also be able to capture “big data” along the way, “the bike’s on-board equipment will record a whole range of data that will allow Vodafone Ziggo to operate as efficiently as possible. Not only will the equipment check which route is the most efficient, how many miles the bike has covered, how fast the engineer is riding and how many calories he is consuming, for example, but it will also record things like how much sunlight is available that day – and how much energy must therefore be generated.
SunRider is targeting the global market for its self-charging solar cargo bike.
All images courtesy of SunRider
Do you appreciate the originality of CleanTechnica? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician or Ambassador – or Patreon Patron.