Abstract

Globally, access to reliable and clean transportation vehicles is a growing concern. Using off-the-shelf components, researchers in Kenya have developed a solar-powered bicycle called the “Solar-E-Bike.” The bike has the potential to support the demand for mobility and electric power of the growing African population. A fully solar powered vehicle/generator for commuting and light cargo transportation as a source of electricity in the home is technically feasible and would respond to real user needs, impact the lives of many of people living in off-grid communities in Africa. Incorporating renewably-powered transportation methods could be a significant contribution to avoiding CO2 emissions in the future. The prototypes for this product have proven that a solar vehicle could easily be a practical transportation device with a daily range of 50 km per day. However, a test drive across 500 km showcased valuable design changes, such as improved component selection and durable frame design, that are needed for this product to be usable on a commercialized scale. Vehicles such as the one discussed in this paper could provide additional benefits such as power generation and provide infrastructure support for health, education, water and communications.

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