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OPES’ solar modules boost the range of Urban Mobility’s electric cargo bikes

Source: OPES Solutions

Solar panel manufacturer OPES Solutions GmbH has partnered with the green logistics experts from Urban Mobility to equip electric cargo bikes with robust and lightweight solar panels. This integrated solar solution provides up to 20 percent more range in delivery practice involving payload of 250 kg plus driver.

The Urban Mobility cargo bike, developed for last-mile delivery services, has a 2,0m³ cargo box and is classified as Pedelec25, an e-bike with a maximum speed of 25 kmph in Germany. It can be operated tax-free, and without a driver's license.

Additionally, it can be used on bike lanes and some pedestrian areas. These aspects give it an enormous commercial and operational advantage compared to classic delivery trucks, claims the manufacturer.

With the help of the solar module, the efficiency in the daily operation of e-bikes are vastly improved. It covers a distance of around 8 to 12 km per hour in everyday delivery work and consumes nearly 1 kWh of electricity in the process, depending on the current environmental conditions like temperature and topography. A delivery tour takes about 4 to 5 hours.

Tilman Rosch, CEO of Urban Mobility, says, "With the PV module, up to 800 Wh of electricity can be fed in on such a tour. This extends the operating distance in this example by 45 minutes. This extra distance can make a critical difference in operations as it increases the number of deliveries per day before the bike needs to be recharged."

The solar panels have a thickness of only 3 mm. Though relatively thin, the integrated photovoltaics lends to a robust design that can withstand all the typical stresses that occur in the everyday use of cargo bikes.

The modules are also scratch and impact-resistant, can withstand vibrations, and can be cleaned with a high-pressure cleaner at 130 bar. The integration does not require any special construction of the cargo box. The semi-flexible 'Solflex' modules are bonded to the surface with easy-to-mount tape, as per OPES Solutions' press release.

The solar module design with integrated diodes guarantees an optimized energy yield when partial shading appears during driving and stationary operation. In addition, in the event of local surface damage caused by an accident or dent, the remaining module area will continue to provide optimum electricity.

"Last-mile delivery in cities by cargo bikes and other new transport vehicles is increasing. With our solar technology, we enable them to operate more efficient by combining the features of lightweight, durability and optimized yield. And as customized solar OEM manufacturer for other industries we know how to mass produce with a sustainable supply chain", says Robert Händel, founder and CEO of OPES Solutions. 

Author : Dhiyanesh Ravichandran
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