Are you having a hard time deciding what type of modern bicycle is suitable for your urban lifestyle? Read on to find out the difference between solar, electric and hybrid two-wheelers.
Solar Bikes and Green Transportation
Solar bikes are the greenest way to get around the city. Many say electric bicycles are cleaner, but not when you’re using coal-powered electricity to charge your ride. Two-wheelers that use the sun’s natural power are built very similar to e-bikes. But instead of a charging kit that plugs into a wall outlet, the battery is powered through a set of solar panels.
If your wondering how practical a solar bike is in real life, this is what you need know. With constant UV exposure, one’s bicycle could easily stay fully charged. Cloudy weather and sunsets are your worst enemies, forcing you to take a car, ride the bus or manually pedal your way to your destination.
If you live in an area with long summers, it makes sense to invest in a solar bike. But can you rely on it like you would a motorcycle or car? The answer heavily depends on your daily activities and surroundings. For nighttime, long distance riding, it might be best to consider the next option below.
What About Electric Bikes?
Electric bikes are built for reliable transportation. Incorporating this type of ride with a busy schedule is incredibly easy. Most individuals charge their two-wheeler at night and wake up with a day’s worth of power. Compared to solar bikes, electric versions are able to hold more juice in their batteries. As a result, users can comfortably explore new routes and are less bound to the ‘shortest way possible’.
The restrictions that come with electric bicycles are few, but still worth considering. First, you need to have everyday access to an outlet. Next, constant charging at home will eventually leave a dent in your monthly electricity bill. You may also want to take note that continuously draining an e-bike battery will cause it to deteriorate, forcing you to charge more often.
Hybrid Bikes: The Best of Both Worlds
The solar e-bike makes use of both solar and electric technology resulting in the ultimate urban bicycle for city living. There aren’t many of these around yet, and if you’re planning to buy one, be prepared to fork out around $9000 for a standard model. Since space is limited, most hybrid two-wheelers apply thin solar panels on the actual frame of the bike. Batteries are neatly tucked underneath the seat- no wires are exposed to ensure safety.
“Obviously a solar panel will never charge as a speed charger,” says Armin Oberhollenzer, founder of the Leaos solar e-bike. “But that is not the objective. The objective is to be independent from traditional power supplies for ‘normal’ usage.”
When it comes to performance, solar e-bikes cover an average of 20km on UV rays alone. The electric features are secondary, allowing users to get by during rainy days. A bike with hybrid power capabilities does not need perfect conditions to function. It excels in versatility and simply extracts power from dual sources when it’s convenient.
Overall, the hybrid bicycle offers a level of freedom that solar and electric bikes (on their own) can’t match.