Albert van Dalen, a software engineer, inventor, and cycling enthusiast from Maastricht, Holland, built his Maxun One solar cycle with both a front and rear solar cell array, which are said to be able to power the bike up to 15mph / 25km/h on solar electricity alone.
The Maxun One isn't a pedal-assist e-bike, either, but uses a throttle-based system to control the front hub motor, which makes this bike seem more like a tiny electric motorcycle than an electric-assist bicycle.
The bike includes "a small battery" for optimal operation, and to provide some electricity "in the absence of sunlight" as well as to handle the bike's initial acceleration needs and to handle steeper grades.
All of that sounds really great, but take a quick look at the video of this solar bike in action, and think about what might happen to a pedestrian or other cyclist who gets hit by the leading edge of the horizontal solar array at 15-20 miles per hour...
Aside from the potential hazards to others, the Maxun One also suffers from a ridiculous price tag, which the Daily Mail quoted as being about £80,000 each ($115,000) for one of a limited run of 50 bikes. "For that price, why not buy a Tesla?" asks Derek Markham on www.treehugger.com
«That said I think this is an interesting idea, and not completely without merit, but until solar cell efficiencies have been massively improved, to a point that its solar array can be much smaller, the Maxun One doesn't seem like it's got too bright of a future among e-bike or conventional bike enthusiasts,» says Derek Markham.
Solar electricity is a great renewable resource, but does it make sense to use it on everything?