New System Tested to Charge Motor-assisted Bicycles With Solar Electricity

2015/05/14 22:03
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute
Print Page

Kawasaki Trading Co Ltd (Chuo-ku, Kobe City) announced that it has started the verification project for its motor-assisted bicycle sharing system using solar and wind electricity in April 2015.

The project is carried out in the "Local Cycle Sharing Verification Project for Motor-assisted Bicycles Using Renewable Energy," which is part of the "Fukuoka City Smart Community Creation Council." Solar and wind electricity is used to charge motor-assisted bicycles. The test will last until June 2015.

Kawasaki Trading installed a "renewable energy-powered bicycle port" to use it as a charging station. On the roof of the port, about 2kW of CIS-based solar panels and a small-scale wind power generation system with an output of 300W were installed. Solar and wind electricity is stored in a lead-acid battery (20kWh) in the port and used for charging motor-assisted bicycles.

For the motor-assisted bicycles and charging system, Kawasaki Trading employed a newly-developed "storage battery automatic charging system." Unlike conventional systems, the new system automatically begins to charge a bicycle once it is returned to a parking stand, eliminating the need to detach the battery from the bicycle. In the verification test, motor-assisted bicycles charged only with renewable energy are shared in an area from Island City to Fukuoka City (within a circle whose radius is 5km).

For the test, seven two-wheeled bicycles and one three-wheeled bicycle were introduced. Each bicycle is equipped with a 5Ah rechargeable battery and can continuously run about 30km per charge. When the battery runs out, they can be used as normal bicycles. Because motor-assisted bicycles enable to travel a longer distance than normal bicycles, the sharing of them is expected to be as popular as public transport as a clean means of transportation, Kawasaki Trading said.

The renewable energy-powered bicycle port is portable and can be moved to a desired place at the time of disaster, etc to charge personal computers, mobile phones and so forth as an emergency power source.