Kenyans apply solar energy to their transport sector, designing a motorbike powered by photovoltaics
Researchers from Moi University, Kenya, have designed an electric motorbike to run on batteries which can be charged by solar PV. The first motorbikes could be on the roads by mid-2012, following patenting of the concept. Jeremy Muriuki, 26, one of the project innovators from Moi University, claims the bikes can run for an average of 24 hours on a single charge, with a top speed of 75km/h.
Interest in solar powered devices has risen rapidly since the Kenyan Government announced a tax cut of 15% on the sale of all solar products in June 2010.
The commercial development of the concept bike has won the support of the National Council of Science and Technology, a government agency, which has pledged $15,000 per year for the next two years, with the possibility of renewed funding thereafter.
“We are encouraging creative ideas by funding projects – mostly related to how solar energy can be applied in the Kenyan transport sector,” said Shaukat Abdulrazak, the council’s Chairman.
Meanwhile, Peugeot is bringing electric twowheelers into the mainstream with the E-Vivacity scooter. Its 4kW engine runs on a lithium ion cobalt battery, with a recharge time of four hours, and a range of 80-100km.
- Gitonga Njeru