Albert van Dalen is an inventor/tinkerer from the Netherlands. He has designed and built what he calls the world’s first solar powered electric bicycle, the Maxun One. It has a top speed of 15 mph from solar power alone and is manufactured to a very high standard. Because it is charged by the sun, you never have to charge the battery yourself. Van Dalen says it even works on cloudy days.
Van Dalen says, “The solar bike is made very lightweight, sportive and fast, despite the solar panels it rides almost as light as a road bike. The solar panels are small enough to allow easy riding in traffic, and large enough to perform well, even on a semi-cloudy days. A small battery provides energy in the absence of sunlight.”
An electric bicycle is a popular idea, but it has a significant disadvantage — it weighs much more than a conventional bike. Batteries and motors are heavy. There just no way around it, at least not with today’s technology. An electric bicycle is too heavy to use with a normal bike rack or to carry up a flight of stairs. The Maxun One weighs just 38 pounds. Some electric bikes weigh twice as much.
Van Dalen has a several inventions and patents to his credit. He can tell you how to make a fine spot welder yourself or build a device to calibrate your multimeter. My personal favorite is his guide to debouncing electrical switches and buttons.
“The development of the solar bike was a technical challenge,” he says. “all components have to be of the highest level, such as the solar cells, for which a superior, anti reflective, low loss coating had to be developed. Aerospace materials are used to reduce the weight of the whole solar bike to 17kg, but also make it strong enough to withstand stress caused by riding at high speed on bad roads. Furthermore the solar bike remains stable at high speed, even with both solar panels.”
Van Dalen is justly proud of his creation. “With the Maxun One solar bike, high tech, beautiful design and usability come together. Because it is the first solar bike of its kind in the world, it’s called the “One”.
Enjoy this video that shows the Maxum One being ridden around van Dalen’s hometown of Maastricht. American viewers may need to adapt your thinking a bit because of all the bicycles on the road. In some countries, bicycles, not SUVs, are the preferred means of transportation.
For more information, you may contact Albert van Dalen at this link.