Whether you’re looking for a cost effective way to commute, avoid traffic, or just enjoy a cool breeze while you bomb around town, cycling is one of the best options available. It’s not without its setbacks however. A five to ten mile bike ride can cost you between 30 and 60 minutes, and when you have a day of work ahead, it’s not necessarily the best (or the most odor-friendly) use of your energy. And that’s why people invited the glorious hybrid, eBikes.
Specifically, Leaos Solar, winner of a 2015 Red Dot Product Design Award, and the first self-sufficient eBike with solar panels built into its frame.
While electric bikes and aftermarket motors have made it easier for people to get around, batteries are bulky and are a pain to charge. When you’re worried about getting from A to B and back, you don’t want to be constantly plugging in your bike. With its integrated solar panels, the Leaos Solar charges both while resting and while in motion and with that self-generated power, can drive a rider (read:passenger) around for over 12 miles – no peddling required.
The bike can of course be juiced up through direct charging as well.
At the core of the Leaos is an MPF Drive motor which comes in 250 and 500 watt versions. The MPF motor uses three independent sensors to record the crank torque, crank speed, and bicycle speed so that the engine is always generating the right speeds regardless of terrain.
The bike also uses a maintenance-free Harmony transmission which supports both automatic and manual transmission. Riders simply choose the desired speed, and the system maintains that speed independent of the motor, power from cyclist, and topography of the route. After the bike has stopped, the Harmony chooses the proper settings to ensure that acceleration is smooth, seamless, and silent.
The standard Leaos models are engineered to go at 25-km/h which doesn’t require a license or insurance. There’s also a moped version which goes up to 45-km/h – depending on where you live, there might be restrictions on riding the speed-demon.
Despite high performance design, Leaos bikes are relatively simple to maintain. The chain needs to be oiled every 2-3 months and they use special balloon tires to eliminate the need for a suspension system.
Available add-ons include options such as anti-theft GPS tracking, a rear view mirror, hybrid manual/automatic gear hubs, and a seat post dampening system.
The Leaos Solar eBike isn’t brand new – they’ve actually done a few laps around the track. Their Indigogo campaign from 2014 only raised $376 from six backers, a slight dent in their $190,000 goal. But after winning the design award and building some buzz, things are starting to pick up speed.
Spoiler though: the eBike is currently available for custom configuration and order/delivery on the Leaos website for approximately $8,600, but they are currently only shipping to EU locations. Hopefully, they float and can find their way to North America some time soon.
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Don Whyte says
Peddling should be spelled pedaling (or the British spelling pedalling). Peddling is the act of trying to sell something, eg. “peddling door to door”
Andrew S Domenitz says
It is not self sufficient. It is not as green as you would think. You need to figure in all the energy, raw materials and water, plus the waste produced in manufacture. Then you would have an initial carbon footprint at the date of manufacture. Then you subtract energy saved by the solar charging over the distance traveled and the weight it moved using only solar energy in its life cycle.Then you can add the calories used by the rider to propel it back into the equation. Don’t forget those calories cost 10 calories per food calorie because of water, fertilizer, pesticides, refrigeration and transportation, plus pollution. Think we live in a something for nothing world? Work needs energy input in the real world, and there is a way to figure it. When you actually think about it, dont forget all the work you did to buy it. This thing is not what it is labelled. On solar alone, take distance and the weight moved, for its entire lifespan, and you might find that it was a very expensive and polluting, waste creating, mode of transportation. If only used for pleasure, and they figured it out that way, the “greens”would probably want to ban it. If they used it for messenger service, it might be a different story entirely, but there would be little sunlight in the shadows of skyscrapers in cities. so I dont get it. Real cost benefit analysis needs to be applied to these ideas, like the hybrid gas electric cars, electric cars so we can actually figure out what to do about the problems we face. Some of the best intentions are behind some truly bad ideas we never even think about.
Jason Sykes says
Fat soft tyres as the only suspension is a big mistake. It raises friction and drag too much. Needs skinny tyres and a very simple suspension system, such as a squashed tennis ball. There, you can have that idea if you want!
Paul Wilcox says
You could get top of range motor bike for this sort of money.
Nice try, greens, but as always it costs a arm and a leg to save the environment which is why we are doomed. Doomed, I say, doomed.
Short sight on the design, they could have added a small dynamo to each wheel feeding a return charge back to the main battery thus increasing range and decreasing charge time. Id like to see info on time taken to solar charge this bike, I’m guessing it would take more than a day.
I come from New Zealand, and I’m excited that an ebike is coming out with solar panels, hope the price tag will come down a bit though LOL
nicholas policastro says
why no price how much
Timothy Gula says
Awesome, solar panels. Not awesome, only shipping to EU. I would consider something like this since my commute is short enough to enjoy on a bike like this, but not too long that I am worried about not making it on time without leaving an hour early. I would hope that I could make it to and from work on one charge.
Roman Turcotte says
Great idea of course! However, that price tag is also not very efficient and since they are not shipping to the USA yet, this is something that falls onto my back burner.