New solar solution increases range of electric cargo bikes by up to 20%


Germany based Urban Mobility GmbH has developed an heavy duty cargo bike for urban delivery services. The heavy duty UM CargoBike has a very large 2,0m³ cargo box and is classified as Pedelec25, an e-bike with a maximum speed of 25km/h. It can be operated tax-free, and without a driver’s license. Additionally, it can be used on bike lanes and some pedestrian areas. These aspects give it an enormous commercial and operational advantage compared to classic delivery trucks.
With the help of the solar module, the efficiency in the daily operation of heavy duty cargo bikes can be vastly improved. A heavy-duty cargo bike covers a distance of around 8 to 12 km per hour in everyday delivery work and consumes nearly 1 kWh of electricity in the process, depending on the current environmental conditions like temperature and topography. A delivery tour takes about 4 to 5 hours. Tilman Rosch, CEO of Urban Mobility: “With the PV module, up to 800 Wh of electricity can be fed in on such a tour. This extends the operating distance in this example by 45 minutes. This extra distance can make a critical difference in operations as it increases the number of deliveries per day before the bike needs to be recharged.”
No special requirements due to integrated photovoltaics
The solar panel has a thickness of only 3 mm. Though relatively thin, the integrated photovoltaics lends to a robust design that can withstand all the typical stresses that occur in the everyday use of cargo bikes. The modules are scratch and impact-resistant, can withstand vibrations, and can be cleaned with a high-pressure cleaner at 130 bar. The integration does not require any special construction of the cargo box. The semi-flexible Solflex modules are bonded to the surface with easy-to-mount tape.
There are also no special requirements for the use of the bike. The solar module design with integrated diodes guarantees an optimized energy yield when partial shading appears during driving and stationary operation. In addition, in the event of local surface damage caused by an accident or dent, the remaining module area will continue to provide optimum electricity.
The solar panels are also tailored to the needs of cargo bike operators in terms of size, electrical output and design options. Versions in black, white and daylight-transparent make it possible to match the design of the cargo boxes.
“Last-mile delivery in cities by cargo bikes and other new transport vehicles is increasing. With our solar technology, we enable them to operate more efficient by combining the features of lightweight, durability and optimized yield. And as customized solar OEM manufacturer for other industries we know how to mass produce with a sustainable supply chain” says Robert Händel, founder and CEO of OPES Solutions.
This new generation of cargo bikes will be presented for the first time in Cologne at polisMOBILITY 2022 (18.05 – 21.05.2022).