Urban Transport

The Sunnyclist combines three power sources for autonomous zero-emissions transportation

The Sunnyclist combines three ...
The Sunnyclist is an e-vehicle relying on the synergy of solar, pedal and battery power
The Sunnyclist is an e-vehicle relying on the synergy of solar, pedal and battery power
View 16 Images
The Sunnyclist is an e-vehicle relying on the synergy of solar, pedal and battery power
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The Sunnyclist is an e-vehicle relying on the synergy of solar, pedal and battery power
The Sunnyclist's technology in a nutshell
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The Sunnyclist's technology in a nutshell
The Sunnyclist's battery can be charged on a standard wall socket is as little as three hours, depending on the grid's capability
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The Sunnyclist's battery can be charged on a standard wall socket is as little as three hours, depending on the grid's capability
The Sunnyclist at the port of Heraclion, Crete
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The Sunnyclist at the port of Heraclion, Crete
One key unlocks the Sunnyclists' electric motor, the doors and the solar panel's pivoting mechanism
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One key unlocks the Sunnyclists' electric motor, the doors and the solar panel's pivoting mechanism
Two detachable pedal packs of the Sunnyclist include the passengers in the charging process, equipped with digital screens to monitor who's actually contributing and who's not
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Two detachable pedal packs of the Sunnyclist include the passengers in the charging process, equipped with digital screens to monitor who's actually contributing and who's not
The pedal power pack has been designed to provide extra juice for the Sunnyclist - and can double as a static exercise bicycle at home
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The pedal power pack has been designed to provide extra juice for the Sunnyclist - and can double as a static exercise bicycle at home
The Sunnyclist can save more than 2 tonnes of CO2 per year that would be emitted from a small city car into the environment
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The Sunnyclist can save more than 2 tonnes of CO2 per year that would be emitted from a small city car into the environment
The Sunnyclist can be an excellent vehicle for countries with ample sunshine
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The Sunnyclist can be an excellent vehicle for countries with ample sunshine
The ability to rely on solar and muscular power means that the Sunnyclist does not have to be confined only in areas with sufficient electrical infrastructure
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The ability to rely on solar and muscular power means that the Sunnyclist does not have to be confined only in areas with sufficient electrical infrastructure
The first Sunnyclist prototype managed a hillclimb from sea level to an altitude of 1,100 meters relying only on solar and pedal power
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The first Sunnyclist prototype managed a hillclimb from sea level to an altitude of 1,100 meters relying only on solar and pedal power
The final production version of the Sunnyclist is expected to feature a more modern and refined design that that of the working prototype
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The final production version of the Sunnyclist is expected to feature a more modern and refined design that that of the working prototype
The Sunnyclist can be accessorized to enhance its ability with an extra two-passenger seat, extra cargo space and lots more
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The Sunnyclist can be accessorized to enhance its ability with an extra two-passenger seat, extra cargo space and lots more
One design feature that is not negotiable is the Sunnyclist's flat solar panel, as this is the best shape for optimal performance
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One design feature that is not negotiable is the Sunnyclist's flat solar panel, as this is the best shape for optimal performance
The outer dimensions of the Sunnyclist
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The outer dimensions of the Sunnyclist
A smartphone app will include useful information on the Sunnyclist's functions, including uncovering lazy passengers
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A smartphone app will include useful information on the Sunnyclist's functions, including uncovering lazy passengers
View gallery - 16 images

At first glance the Sunnyclist looks like a typical electric tricycle, yet the combination of a solar panel on the roof with pedals for the passengers ensures that its battery can go a long way without requiring an external power supply.

The Sunnyclist was born in 2011 when a group of young engineers and entrepreneurs from Greece came up with the concept. By 2012 they had the first working prototype and in 2013 a second prototype was being tested. Some remarkable feats have been achieved in the process, like a tour of the island of Crete that involved covering 800 km (497 mi) in five days. It has also been tested on a hillclimb from sea level to an elevation of 1.1 km (0.68 mi) through both paved and dirt roads.

The tricycle is built around a sturdy and lightweight aluminum frame, measuring approximately the size of a small city car. Its power source is a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery, feeding two 6 kW brushless motors contained within the rear wheel hubs.

So far things are pretty conventional, but there are also some alternative means of charging at hand. The Sunnyclist's roof is essentially a big, rotatable photovoltaic panel that can track the position of the sun in order to improve its overall efficiency by as much as 30 percent.

Finally, there's a third potential charging force at play in the form of a Pedal Power Pack. A Shimano crankset with SPD pedals at the driver's feet can provide an alternate charging device, while two more detachable pedal packs are available for use by the two passengers sitting in the back seat. Pedaling does not produce any direct propulsion as there is no transmission system installed on the Sunnyclist. Instead, muscler power is employed solely for charging the battery, regardless whether the vehicle is moving or not.

The Sunnyclist's technology in a nutshell
The Sunnyclist's technology in a nutshell

Cleverly enough, the detachable Pedal Power Pack can be also used at home with a specifically developed bike frame to produce electrical power while exercising. There's also the option to order the Pedal Power Pack Pro, which includes adjustable pedal resistance.

According to the Sunnyclist's designers it has been tested to a maximum distance of 70 km (43.5 mi) at an average speed of 35 km/h (21.7 mph) relying only on its battery. Add to this another 70 km from its solar generator (on a sunny day) and top it off with 50 km (31 mi) more from the pedals and you get a maximum range of 190 km (118 mi). Using an even bigger battery pack, should improve its range considerably. When the battery is fully charged, a controller diverts the power generated from the solar panel and the pedals straight to the electric motors, extending the battery's range.

Relying only on pedal power and the possible assistance of solar charging, the designers say the trike can still produce enough power for a 20 km/h (12.4 mph) speed on a level surface – so it could be moved to a nearby charging point or a sunnier spot. A full battery charge by only sunlight is also possible, requiring approximately a day's worth of exposure to the sun.

The pedal power pack has been designed to provide extra juice for the Sunnyclist - and can double as a static exercise bicycle at home
The pedal power pack has been designed to provide extra juice for the Sunnyclist - and can double as a static exercise bicycle at home

The Sunnyclist is classified in the European Union as a class L5e vehicle (solar-electric tricycle), with a top speed of 50 km/h (31 mph) and it will be produced in three variants. The City version is equipped with a 540 W photovoltaic generator and a 60 Ah/48 V battery that can provide an average of 35 km (21.7 mi) on a single charge – without taking into account solar or pedal power.

The Traveler version has a larger 680 W solar panel, is equipped with pedals for each passenger, an energy analyzer and a 100 Ah/48 V battery for the maximum range of 190 km with the synergy of all available power sources.

Finally, a Standard version is planned for use in large private facilities such as hotels. Powered by a 40 Ah/48 V battery it can provide a maximum range of 25 km (15.5 mi).

The Sunnyclist can be accessorized to enhance its ability with an extra two-passenger seat, extra cargo space and lots more
The Sunnyclist can be accessorized to enhance its ability with an extra two-passenger seat, extra cargo space and lots more

The Sunnyclist is capable of transporting three passengers in its standard form and includes two 75 liter storage spaces in the front and space for larger objects behind the rear seat. By removing or folding this seat, the back of the vehicle can be used to haul cargo up to 250 kg (551 lb). An extra rear-facing seat can also be added to accommodate two more passengers.

The Sunnyclist has just launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in order to muster the finances required for production to begin in 2016. Find out more in the following campaign video.

Sunnyclist: The world's greenest vehicle

Source: Sunnyclist

View gallery - 16 images
7 comments
discord
Although the intention is noble, I can think a single application for this bike - golf cart!
Freyr Gunnar
> According to the Sunnyclist's designers it has been tested to a maximum distance of 70 km (43.5 mi) at an average speed of 35 km/h (21.7 mph) relying only on its battery.
On a flat surface with no headwind, 35km/h isn't really a feat.
Doesn't that look like a needlessly complicated solution while there's a much simpler, economical and durable solution, ie. the humble bicycle invented over a century ago?
YuraG
the price of a Sunnyclist doesn't seem to be realistic, but all the best luck guys! only those like you can restart Greece specifically and Europe in general.
martinkopplow
The concept is nice, there may be certain applications it could be put to good use in, now make it beautiful to make a case. Why do these things need to look like golf carts or mobility scooters? That's so frustrating, because people are going to reject it at first glance. Make it sexy!
Don Duncan
For sidestreets in the US the top speed needs to be at least 50mph. The range of about 40 is ok if that is at top speed/2 people.
Of course, the platform design needs to be more sexy with a fold out pv array for at rest, and a completely sealed cabin for use in all weather. The pedals for charging when the batt is used up would be a great range extender, and cheaper than an ICE.
Daishi
The Chevy Spark is listed at 28 kWh/100 mi or 280 Wh/mile. Assuming a 680 W solar panel and 7 sun hours per day would give you enough solar power for (680*7)/280= 17 miles per day but that's probably being generous for panel efficiency.
Cars like the Arcimoto SRK might be a better comparison and is listed at 230 MPGe instead of 119 the Volt is rated at. In fairly ideal conditions you might be able to pull about 30 miles (50 km) of range through the solar panels over the course of a day. I'm not sure if they can hit their 70 km estimates but with a small/efficient enough EV the power from the panels is actually in the ballpark of being useful.
If you only ever drove it every couple days and/or didn't go very far you could get away with it. Another possibility depending on use case is having thin film flexible panels in a rollable mat that you can roll out on the ground next to the car while its parked for another ~300 watts of panels in a pinch.
I'm not sure that there will ever be a point in putting solar panels directly on a Tesla sized car but for an application like this it could eventually make sense as panel efficiencies improve enough.
There are government subsidies on electric cars but not for things like this and Arcimoto that are considered electric motorcycles. There should also be a small subsidy on electric motorcycles of $500 to $1,000 because they represent one of the cleanest methods of powered transportation available and it would help EV motorcycles get a footing in the market.
The EV tax incentives will expire before Model 3 launches. I think it could maybe be reduced by then but it shouldn't be eliminated so close to accomplishing a major goal. It's not really even about the environment, helping to encourage vehicles like Tesla Model 3 and Arcimoto SRK should be part of our foreign policy response against "conflict oil" in the middle east and as leverage against fluctuations in petroleum prices. It's not a waste of tax money because it's significantly cheaper than military and other diplomatic solutions in the middle east.
EricEstro
1. Does it really have to be that ugly?
2. Any security features?
3. How do I prevent getting it stolen?
4. What about comfort?
Just trying to help here.