Solar power coming to motorcycles

Nairobi solar powered motorbike taxisNairobi solar powered motorbike taxis

Electric motorcycles charged from mains power are starting to make inroads into mainstream production, but an African university is already ahead of the pack with solar power.

Three students from the University of Nairobi have built a system they call Ecotran, which captures the sun’s energy, stores it in batteries, and uses it to charge a motorcycle’s electric motor.

The technology is already being used in Nairobi motorcycle and scooter taxis.

As much of western Kenya has no grid electricity and many towns and cities have frequent power disruptions, solar energy is a promising alternative.

Not only is it cheaper than paying for grid power, but it’s also the cleaner option for countries that burn coal to make mains power.

The three students have set up a company called Pfoofy Solar and established a “fuelling” station with 40 photovoltaic units, each generating 250-watts of electricity.

Nairobi solar powered motorbike taxis
Nairobi solar powered motorbike taxis

The energy is stored in batteries before being transformed by powerful inverters into the alternating current needed by the motorcycle.

They developed their system in 2014 at a climate change innovation centre at Strathmore Business School in Nairobi.

The United States African Development Fund and Power Africa have now granted them $US100,000 to further develop their project with new motorcycles imported from China.

Other solar-powered motorcycles include Arizona inventor Richard Gryzch’s Solar Flyer motorcycle with flexible solar panels coating its outer skin and a bike with panels on its roof invented by Mustafa Mohammadi a young Afghan student.

Afghan solar motorbike
Afghan solar motorbike

It shouldn’t be long before the major motorcycle companies turn their attention to the sun.

One thought on “Solar power coming to motorcycles

  1. The major barrier is the grim determination of the Lycra bicycle set to block usable eBikes at the sensible 500w level needed for mobility fir the elderly and a range of hybrid mobility vehicles..almost all of which are electric. This creates an artificial motorcycle (with the usual penal stereotyping and access and use restrictions) and bicycles (an almost completely unregulated low entry barrier two wheeler powered mode)

    One this 250w limit is modified in conjunction with graded regulatory changes on both deemed modes we will see a huge growth in electric powered two wheelers.

    However authorities are dead set on stopping this highly desirable Uber for riders as long as they possibly can!

    Your article still feeds the motorcycle stereotype unintentionally. The game is changing and I have outlined the barriers that are holding back sustainable usable economic mobility for many

    Just watch the sprint of authorities to make the burgeoning hover board minisegways illegal everywhere as the anti Uber effect that it really is. In fact many of them are technically motorcycles by default as they have over 250w motors, etc

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