E-Cargo Bike Sunrider: Let There Be Light

Probably not many of us mind a little sunshine. If you ride the Sunrider, you could even become a true sun worshipper. The battery of this e-cargo bike is charged by solar energy.

Solar modules more versatile than before

Chris Cramer and Chris van Houdt from the Netherlands have found out how the largest star in our solar system can be tapped for energy in the sense of transporting loads. With their company Need The Globe (NTG), they are building on concepts such as the Duo Moke, the Hopper, the CityQ or the Kvaern. There, too, solar panels are used to make the transport of people and goods more sustainable and to conserve fossil fuels. “Solar panels are becoming both more efficient and more affordable,” says Chris van Houdt, co-founder and chief energy officer of NTG. “They are increasingly suitable for integration into moving objects and for developing a sustainable and commercially viable product.”

In the case of the Sunrider, three solar modules are found on the outer walls of the Cargobox. Together, these provide 545 watts peak (Wp). On an average day, the modules supply 50 percent of the energy consumed by the battery of the e-cargo bike. If the sun shows its best side, even 100 percent is possible.

There’s a lot in here

NTG has dimensioned the bike’s energy storage unit accordingly. The battery offers an enormous 1,600 watt hours of capacity. According to the manufacturer, you can cover more than 100 kilometres on one charge. The motor comes from eZee. As a hub motor installed in the front wheel, it provides the usual 250 watts and supports you up to a maximum speed of 25 km/h.

Apart from that, the Sunrider is a fully-fledged cargo bike. The load box sits on the two-wheeled rear wheel axle. In terms of floor space, it fits a Euro pallet. NTG states a volume of one cubic metre. You can transport a maximum of 150 kilograms with this e-cargo bike. If you look closely, you can see the rounded corners on the front of the cargo box facing the rider. This design trick is intended to guide the airstream around the box in a particularly elegant way and thus save additional energy.

Stable and secure

The unisize frame gives the impression that hardly anything can shake it. Massive tube diameters and the construction, on which the cargo box is mounted, convey a certain amount of stability. At the front, the rigid fork with its double bridge instils plenty of confidence.

The riding itself should nevertheless feel quite smooth. The reason for this is the continuously variable transmission from Enviolo – even if it is operated manually here. Low-maintenance and with a wide range, it is cleverly chosen for this purpose.

In terms of safety, the Sunrider offers more than just the basics. Both the hydraulic disc brakes and the standard lighting system are standard on such an ebike. However, the two large rear-view mirrors at the handlebar ends and the turn signals go beyond the usual. This means that you always have a good view of the three-metre-long vehicle and at the same time are clearly visible in traffic. Thanks to the width of only one metre, you can of course also use the bicycle lane at any time.

One vision, many partners

All in all, the Sunrider seems well thought-out and very solid. Obviously, the company founders Chris Cramer and Chris van Houdt know a thing or two about building a cargo bike. However, the homepage does not reveal any details about their background. The only thing that is clear is that they had quite prominent support. TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, Delft University of Technology, the Mobility Design Lab and the United Network Studio (UNStudio) all contributed to the development of the bike. No wonder that with so much expertise something sensible comes out.


Images: Need The Globe B.V.

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