Are you concerned with pollution, yet find cycling or walking into work very tiring every day? Then the new solar powered electric scooter might just be the solution.
Californian renewable energy experts Tony VanMeetern and Mike Donnell spent the last four years working on PV panel based, full sized emission free scooters called ‘SES’. The plan is now to move towards mass production for the end consumer.
Both men have been in the renewable energy sector since the early 1980’s and wanted to create something practical, fun and ‘green’.
They started the design with a 24 volt system and an old scooter chain drive mechanism, then added a solar panel to charge it. It all worked well for them, but they upgraded the scooter with a hub motor and a more powerful 36 volts. The team then involved an electrical engineer to help improve the PV panel system. They then built a prototype.
The end result at this point is a ‘Solar Electric Scooter’. The PV panel is 4mm thick glass which has been laminated and skid resistant. The deck to stand on is 13.5 inches by 32 inches. It can support a weight of 159 kg, so is designed for those of us with a wider ‘girth’.
The scooter ships with a 15ah Li-ion battery pack which can be charged in direct sunlight. Every hour in the sun will give the battery enough power for a mile of travel. If you live in a country with limited sunlight then there is also a 4 ft charging cord which can be connected to a 2 amp charger. This can be plugged in anywhere for fast charging. The guys have also made the battery pack removable so you can lift it out and charge indoors with a 3 amp external charger.
On a full charge the scooter can travel 20 miles, although less aggressive riding and lighter rider mass may squeeze a little more out of it. Top speed of the scooter is 15 mph, which it can reach in 3.7seconds. Safety is taken care of with a disc braking system, front and rear. There is also safety lighting front and back and the handlebars can collapse down for easier storage and portability.
The guys have launched on the ‘When You Wish’ fundraising platform. There are many pledge levels, although if you want to get one when they are made, you need to fork out $1,500 for one of the first 50 produced. The next 50 cost $1,700 and then the pledge level rises to $1,900. The retail price will be $2,100 when it finally hits retail.
The SES is street legal in America. For every scooter purchased via the website, the team are giving away $50 to charity. They aim to get $100,000 for funding. The campaign closes on May 22nd and scooters will be sent out shortly afterward to buyers, even if the funding goal is not met.
Kitguru says: a great idea if you live in a sunny country, but for the UK? probably not as attractive.