Conversion kits
Electric bycicles

Electric tricycles

Batteries
Bicycles
Solar system
Facebook

We have a few unique systems we've developed for solar charging an electric bicycle, these can be viewed by clicking here. We offer two simple and perfectly functional systems of solar charging a lithium ion electric bicycle bike battery. The first is a direct system and the second is an indirect system. We posted a thread on the endless sphere forum describing different methods of solar charging an electric bike and this has led to quite a few comments and ideas as well if you're interested in reading opinons on different options.

solar module

This is a direct solar charging system that is designed for high power off road kits. It is a 48V system and most definitely can't be used with a typical 36V battery. This system includes all components required to convert your bicycle into a very fast electric bicycle and a direct solar charging system. Please look at the video here (at 4.45 minutes into the video). The solar panel charges the battery at between 1-2 Amps during good sun. It's fantastic if you have a place at work that you can set it up during the day so you'll have a full battery for your return ride home. The system comes with a high power 1000W electric conversion kit and is available for rim sizes of 26" and 700c. Only rear wheel kits are available and they can only be used with a 6 speed gear cluster. Delivery is $100 anywhere in Australia or free pickup in Perth. The complete system includes all of the following:

  • 48V 100W mono-crystalline solar panel ($450)
  • 48V 30A solar regulator suitable to directly charge the ebike battery ($150)
  • 1000W electric conversion kit with a 48V 10Ah Lithium iron phosphate battery ($1320)

 

Solar Bike Pack
Solar Bike 1000W Kit $1920
solar module

Our solar module is a stand alone system. It consists of a photovoltaic panel, a regulator, a deep cycle sealed lead acid AGM battery and a modified sine wave inverter. You plug your battery charger that comes with the conversion kit into the inverter (or mains power if there has been no sun for a while and you've been riding a lot). Please click here to view a video showing how the system functions. If you do not have an area to install the panel which recieves over 5 hours of sun each day then you will likely be better off charging your bicycle from the mains power outlet - you can still purchase green energy!

If you wish to run your bike on solar energy and have that wonderful feeling of knowing that the sunshine is powering your daily transport then we can provide you with high quality components at competitive costs. We have two systems. One is for people that ride a lot (over 15km daily) and one is for the occasional rider (less than 15km daily). Please see the different systems we recommend, notice the difference in panel power and battery capacity. You will need to wire these components together and find a good sunny place to install the panel but it is very easy; panel to regulator, reulator to battery, battery to inverter. To purchase one of these systems please either send us an email with your desired system or use the PayPal button below to purchase securely by credit card. We'll deliver all of the components to your doorstep. Prices are shown below and delivery is an additional $90.

Low use system - $1150 High use system - $1590
80W panel 135W panel
100Ah battery 120Ah battery
Regulator and inverter Regulator and inverter
solar module
Solar Module
Research and Development

Currently we are working on a direct system of solar charging the lithium ion battery on the bicycle to remove some of the energy losses in our current system and the need for an extra storage battery. We have been working on getting a direct charging system going from a panel to the battery to either be mounted on the bike itself or to be used as a "solar charging station" at set locations. One of the main problems is that the best battery voltage for electric bikes is generally 36V and this is nearly exclusively used for electric bikes, not many other items that we know of come in this voltage and solar regulators in this voltage suited to lithium ion batteries are difficult to come by. Even though we've found some after lots of searching, we have not found these to be applicable and fully functional for direct charging of our lithium ion batteries. So far we've destoryed a few batteries, been ripped of a number of times from overseas suppliers and had batteries that only charge partially. However, we have finally figured out a functional system and this is in test phase. Once this is achieved we will start working on making the bicycle hydrogen powered. Just for interest, what we've tried and the problems we've encountered to date with developing a direct charging system are these:

Attempt: Use a 48V panel (100W) to directly charge the 36V lithium ion battery used on our bikes.

Result: Open circuit voltage of panel was too high (81.1V) and fried the battery - luckily this didn't lead to an explosion but it has serious potential to be quite dangerous so please don't try this.

Attempt: Use a 48V panel (100W) through a 36V solar regulator and connect this to the 36V lithium ion battery.

Result: The voltage outupt from the regulator would switch between ~ 48, 36, 22 and do this repeatedly. The batteries would charge up to a degree but the the regulator wasn't ideal as they wouldn't become fully charged and eventually a charge burst would blow the fuse (10amp) on the line to the battery - indicating that they are being charged too quickly with this regulator. We have some new regulators that are doing better now but are still being tested. Off the shelf regulators from a variety of Chinese distributors promising to do what I want don't seem to work as well as intended. Having tested over 5 different models I've only found a couple to be moderately affective. The voltage typically plays around a lot or is not in the range we need for direct charging (~42.5V).

Attempt: Use a 12V panel, connect this to an inverter (12V DC to 240V AC), connect this to the battery charger.

Result: Inconsistant power supply, too many steps in the line, didn't work.

Attempt: Put 3x 12V panels and 12V regulators in series and connect this straight to the battery.

Result: Complicated system, batteries only reached partial charge.

Attempt: Have panels made with a voltage output of 42V (this is what the chargers put out and what voltage the 36V lithium ion batteries generally reach at full charge.

Result: Chinese company took all our money and never delivered anything.

Attempt: As above.

Result: Semi-successful! Panels came with an open circuit voltage of approximately 52V. Closed circuit seems to be closer to 38V but depends on the wattage of the panel (we are trying from 10W - 80W). It is semi-successful. The battery certainly charges to a degree but it is not ideal to have an un-regulated solar charging system. However, it does work but care has to be taken not to overcharge the battery by leaving in the sun for days on end with no use - though it is partically protected by the BMS and the inability of a lower voltage to charge a higher voltage once the battery voltage exceeds that of the panel output. Also, we are still in the process of determining to what capacity the panel is charging the battery - it seems to be a little higher than 3/4 full charge. Currently we are semit-happy with this direct charge system using small panels (about 10-20W) but we are working on getting a regulated system to protect against overcharge and have a voltage and current output more suited to our batteries.

Attempt: Use 48V electric bike batteries and get commercial 48V regulators to match 100W 48V panels.

Result: The first attempts resulted in failure of the battery to charge with cheap regulators. However, when increasing the quality of the regulator we've now found some that work very well. These have been running for about 6 months now so it appears that it is possible to directly charge through this means. Even though the batteries are not being pulse charged through this system, and so are likely not meeting their full capacity, they are charging to a sufficiently high degree and very little difference in range is found if charging using solar or the regular charger. It saves a lot of trouble if you use a 48V ebike battery than a 36V ebike battery. This method of charging can be seen here at about 4 minutes into the video.

Current Attempts: Get 48V panels and find regulators that can be used to reliably charge the 36V lithium iron phosphate batteries we employ with our electric bicycles.

Result: So far no commercial regulator seems to be available that actually works. However, through this business I've been fortunate to meet many electrically able people and Brett from Balmain has been kind, able and active enough to design a custom made regulator to suit 100W 48V panels I've ordered. The panels have an open circuit voltage of approximately 80V and a closed circuit voltage of approximately 70V. The regulator can work with this voltage and current to put a steady output of approximately 42.5V into the battery. The system fully charges our 36V 10Ah lithium ion batteries in approximately 4-5 hours from dead flat and so far hasn't damaged them. It has also been tested with a variety of 36V lithium ion batteries with different capacities successfully. It has now been setup for longer testing at the University of Western Australia and hopefully will encourage further development of such systems. It was set up on the 20th October 2010 and I've been using this system solely for re-charging purposes daily with no issue. Please click the link below to see some pictures of it: