Sustainable urban mobility is one of today’s challenges facing urban planners and administrators around the world. Mass transit systems can be very expensive and require constant maintenance and personal vehicles can cause traffic nightmares. One option for the modern commuter is a scooter which is often electric powered but as such must be left charged to avoid damage to the battery. Adding solar charging to an electric scooter avoids this issue.
Now there is a new option for a solar powered electric scooter (otherwise known as the solar electric scooter or SEC) under development.
Finally a Decent Solar Powered Electric Scooter
Solar Electric Scooters Inc. is the brainchild of Tony VenMeeteren and Mike Donnell. The manufacturers of the scooter have stated that it allows people to commute while at the same time keeping the planet’s water and air healthy. The California based duo spent the last four years designing and developing the electric scooter.
The scooter uses a PV panel as its riding platform. The team used an old scooter which had a 24-volt system as their platform for research. With the addition of solar cells for charging they feel they have a great new option for scooter enthusiasts.
The designers have stated that you can travel a distance of 20 miles at a speed of 15 mph on the SEC. The scooter stores its power using a state-of-art lithium-ion battery which is located under the platform.
There are three main ways of charging the SES:
-Kicking the stand and packing it in sunlight (every hour in the sun is equivalent to one mile’s energy)
-Using the 4-feet pull out charging code that can be plugged to a standard power outlet
-Remove the battery and connect it to a 3-amp power external charger
-A combination of traditional charging techniques and the solar option
The creators of the scooter also consider way to protect it from theft. For the moment the driver can use a cable or chain and lock as they would with any two wheeled vehicle. In the future the company has hinted that they may add an option for a tracking device.
The use of electric scooters is gaining popularity among commuters that have short but daily commutes. The design of the scooter is meant for 350 lb (159 kg) with 250 lb being considered safe. This type of solar powered vehicle can be much less expensive for fuel and insurance than other forms of transport. However, it is not the most appropriate mode of transport in hilly areas.
VenMereen and Donell are now working on plans for mass production of their product and they plan to help fund the move with crwod funding. The couple has launched a campaign known as the “When You Wish project”. Part of the money raised through the fundraising will go to charities such as Erase Poverty and Friends of the Earth. The company has also pledged 2 % of its net profits to the provision of scooters to the less privileged US students.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.