Electric cargo bikes and other forms of lightweight sustainable transportation are becoming increasingly popular for ‘last mile’ delivery services, especially in built-up urban environments. Now the leading solar panel manufacturer OPES Solutions has come up with an integrated solar photovoltaic (PV) solution it claims it can boost the range of e-cargo bikes by 20 percent.
For the prototype, OPES partnered with the Munich-based company Urban Mobility GmbH to develop a heavy duty bike with a 2m³cargo box capable of travelling at a maximum speed of 25km/hr. On a typical delivery tour of 4–5 hours, an e-cargo bike of this size covers a distance of between 8 to 12 km/hr and consumes nearly 1 kWh of electricity. With the integrated PV module, which can feed in up to 800 Wh over a typical tour, the operating distance can be extended by 45 minutes. Critically, this increases the number of deliveries that can be performed in a shift before the bike needs to be recharged.
Furthermore, integrated diodes ensure the energy yield is even optimised when the bike is parked in a partially shaded spot. The Solflex panel is only 3mm thick and made of a flexible, lightweight material that is resistant to day-to-day knocks and scratches. The modules are securely bonded to the surface of the cargo box using fixing tape – so they can be applied to a variety of larger scale models as no special structure is required.
“With our solar technology, we enable [e-cargo bikes] to operate more efficient by combining the features of lightweight, durability and optimized yield. And as a customised solar OEM manufacturer for other industries, we know how to mass produce with a sustainable supply chain” says Robert Händel, CEO of OPES Solutions in a .
This new generation of cargo bikes was presented for the first time in Cologne at polisMOBILITY 2022 (18.05 – 21.05.2022).