I visited a physicist* friend, who runs a growing business installing
Hadron colliders solar photovoltaic panels and got to admire her recumbent. (And, the geeks go “Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge”.)
*e.g., she understands this stuff.
She expressed an interest in selling electric vehicles from her store front. Although solar energy is generally impractical for directly powering a vehicle, there is potential symbiosis. Photovolatic panels can offer low cost, solar trickle charging of those battery systems that are needed for traction applications. Furthermore, Professor Andy Frank (among others) advocates (and has successfully demonstrated) “Collecting the Sun Today to run Your Plug-in Hybrid Tomorrow“.
In a related email correspondence, another friend asked, “What are the markets and customers?” My reply was that one might assume that the market arises from an increased interest coincident with an increase in gas prices. Such observations have been made in regard to electric scooters. Recently, engineer and Gristmill contributor, Russ Finley, a.k.a., biodiversitist came across a Time magazine article with the pithy title “Electric Bikes Sell as Gas Climbs.”
… sales [of electric bikes in general] are up about 50 percent so far this year over last. Amazon.com Inc. says sales of electric bikes surged more than 6,000 percent in July from a year earlier, in part because of its expanded offerings.
A few hundred dollars gets you an IZIP mountain bike from Amazon with a heavy lead-acid battery. For $1,400, you can buy a 250-watt folding bike powered by a more-powerful, longer-lasting nickel-metal hydride battery like those in a camera or a Toyota Prius. At the high end, $2,525 buys an extra-light 350-watt model sporting a lightweight lithium-ion battery similar to a laptop’s
In the article Finley has the following observation:
The world really needs a standard battery pack as reliable, robust, and powerful as the 36-volt Dewalt power tool line, complete with a battery management system designed for electric bikes that can be charged in under and hour and be chained together as is done with 12-volt lead-acid batteries to obtain different voltages and amp-hour ratings.
You bet your diandong zixingche, boopsie! First we need batteries, then we can add the solar panels or other charging stations that use renewable energy.
TFPV (Thin Film Photo Voltaic) development is ramping up, led by a company called Nanosolar.
Did you remember to carry the Nanosolar?