Test a solar bike!

| Michaela Nesvarova

The University of Twente is researching solar powered e-bikes and you are welcome to test them! A big test of solar bikes, which charge themselves as you cycle, will start in May and the university is now searching for participants of this ‘Solar powered e-bike’ project.

The solar e-bikes have integrated solar cells into their wheels. They were developed by the Technical University of Eindhoven and will now be researched at the UT as part of the Living Smart Campus program. The main goal of the research project is to test the bikes’ efficiency and user satisfaction – which means participants are needed.

Charging station at the UT

‘We will explore several interesting directions during the test phase,’ explains Angele Reinders, who is one of the initiators of the research project, together with Professor Karst Geurs. ‘First we will compare different solar bikes – the ones charged at the central charging station, which will be installed at the UT, and the ones that users charge at home with a provided charging kit.’

The researchers also want to explore how users experience these e-bikes, the bikes’ energy balance and their impact on mobility patterns. ‘Among other things, we want to see if the wheels themselves supply sufficient power, especially in the Dutch climate,’ continues Reinders. ‘Another question we hope to answer is how such e-bikes influence user behavior – do they encourage people to cycle more often or do its users end up driving a car more?’

Participants wanted!

The first tests of the solar e-bikes will start in May and the project is scheduled to last for one year. Would you like to be involved? You can. Participants are needed for the test phase and anyone can still sign up.

‘There are no special requirements for the participants. They just need to be willing to use the bike as usual – for commuting to work, grocery shopping and so on. We will, of course, also collect measurements using sensors and the users will need to fill in a survey to describe their personal experience. How long and when people test the bike depends on which user group they will be in. Some will get the bike for one week, other measurements will take longer,’ clarifies Reinders. ‘Everyone can apply and selected users will be properly instructed later on.’