Nowegian startup brings PV-powered cargo bikes to market

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Norway’s Infinite Mobility, a startup developing lightweight electric vehicles, is shipping prototypes of its first PV-powered two-wheeler cargo bikes to selected bike stores in Europe. The potential distributors will be providing feedback to the Infinite team ahead of series production, which is scheduled to begin at its assembly plant in Tunisia next month.

The first model to be launched is an electric 2-wheeler, dubbed Inga. It has a top speed of 25 km/h and comes equipped with 160 W of semi-flexible PV and an integrated 36 V lithium-ion battery. It supports a 250 kg maximum load.

Three panels of Maxeon/Sunpower interdigitated back contact (IBC) solar cells are mechanically attached to the front cargo box, one is horizontal and two are vertically oriented.

“We chose IBC cells as they are aesthetically pleasing yet powerful enough for the application. In fact, there is a very good match between energy harvested from solar PV and energy required to power the bike,” Infinite Mobility founder and CEO, Moez Jomâa, told pv magazine.

The Inga model has a frame-integrated 100 Nm hub motor manufactured by Danish e-motor company Promovec, and a gear system sourced from Dutch bike technology company Enviolo. The 16.5 Ah battery has a range of 60 km per charge.

“A full day in the sun is enough to fill the battery from zero to full charge. An hour is sufficient for at least 8 km of driving,” said Jomâa. “Our solar cargo bikes are made to significantly reduce battery recharging from the grid to the minimum. We have commuters in mind who can park in the sun while working, for example.”

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Early tests are encouraging, according to Jomâa, referring to a full year of test data gathered by the team. “Of course, it is solar, so actual performance may vary, depending on irradiance, proximity to the equator and the season. But in our target markets of Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria, the battery can go many months throughout Spring and Summer without recharging from the grid,” said Jomâa.

INGA owners will be able to do their own performance tracking, as well as monitor the battery health, and get advice on optimized energy harvesting from software provided by the company in an app.

Looking ahead, Jomâa will be arranging the financing for production and preparing to introduce a second product, a three-wheeled cargo bike with a much larger storage capacity and up to 550 W of integrated PV.

The electrification of last-mile transportation and urban micro-mobility is creating new opportunities for developers of integrated solar PV systems as pv magazine has been reporting, such as recharging stations for e-scooters or electric pickup trucks equipped with integrated PV-powered medical systems.

Image: Infinite Mobility

Image: Infinite Mobility

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