Dutch Solar Cycle, prototype zonnefiets, Solar Application Lab, TU Eindhoven © Dutch Solar Cycle/TUe

An electric bicycle without a plug is made possible by the addition of solar cells on the front wheel. Eindhoven Solar Application Laboratory (SAL) has managed to develop the first solar-Bike, in cooperation with the TU/e, Segula and Ebike Netherlands. This is not any ordinary startup: “We want to contribute to solving the climate problem.”

Solar energy has the future, says Marc Peters, founder and owner of SAL. “But there is still a world to win. We have developed a technology that is twenty times more effective than the usual systems. This enables us to generate a lot of energy, even in small areas like in the wheels of your bike.” And yes, even when the sun is not shining all day.

SAL has actively sought cooperation with representatives from the industry and knowledge institutes and it was no coincidence that it chose the university campus as a location spot, Peters explains. “We can use the knowledge that’s all over this place.” Even if the Solar Bike would be ready for market (which is not yet the case), the project won’t be finished. Currently, Peters already looks further, for example to the recovery of braking energy and wirelessly sharing energy with other bikes. “So every cyclist can contribute to a better society.”

Joop Schaffels of Segula: “Since 2013, our name is inseparable from the solar energy family car Stella Lux, developed by Solar Team Eindhoven. SAL is the logical follow up. We have extensive knowledge and experience when it comes to solar power for propulsion. Segula is closely involved in the development of this unique product, is responsible for the system architecture of the S-bike, and is involved in the development of the charging strategy. A very interesting business case for the market.”

Ebike Netherlands is enthusiastic as well: “Our company develops, manufactures and distributes electric bikes throughout Europe. At the first test drives our team was impressed and everyone who has taken a ride on this bike, is very excited. We think the Solar E-Bike will be a great extra element in the future of green transport. ”

Schermafbeelding 2016-02-23 om 14.44.35Today, February 23, the prototype of the S-Bike is presented. SAL is now working on the next steps. “We are going to test our technology on a dozen bikes. I would like to introduce a campus bike. It would give us the opportunity to test properly.”

The upcoming months will be very important, Peters says. “The cells must work in all weather conditions. So, not only on a sunny July day, but on a rainy day in September as well.” Furthermore, the bicycle must become resistant to vandalism.

Behind the scenes discussions with interested partners – investors and clients – have already taken place, but first SAL is still looking for additional investment money.

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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of innovationorigins.com.