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Solar powered micro mobility

E-bikes and scooters are the best way to reach the train station: let's make them truly sustainable with solar-powered charging stations

Photo of Niccolò Gallarati
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The electric bicycle and scooter are a means of transport getting popular with a double-digit growth every year.

It is not just a matter of comfort, but an effective answer to the demand for sustainable , short distance mobility.

Traffic, pollution, danger of accidents, stress and little physical exercise can be solved with a policy of incentives towards electric bicycles.

Our STOP&CHARGE solar-powered charging stations makes it possible to charge electric bicycles and other light vehicles with solar energy, in an integrated, turnkey solution.

Several charging stations installed in strategic locations around the Michigan Central Station would provide a safe place to lock your e-bike, remotely monitored with videosurveillance, and their battery topped up, all powered day and night thanks to  solar power and integrated energy storage.

How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

Commuters from distant cities can park their car in the outskirts of the city. They get their foldable electric bike or electric scooter from their trunk and reach the charging station, where they can safely lock and charge their battery. Users at a shorter distance (5-10 miles) can leave their car at home and be sure to complete the two journeys on their e-bike.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Prototype - you have built a prototype and tested it with potential users
  • Pilot - you have implemented your solution in a real-world scenario

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

We gathered over 60 million data points from our 25 solar charging stations for portable devices installed since 2016, owned by several municipalities and energy companies. The concept of public charging is validated by over 200k charges with peaks of 150 charges per station per day. Very little vandalism has occurred because of the usefulness of the charging station to a broad audience.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

We are an Italian start up active since 2015 in the public charging station market. We have already 100+ charging stations, 40 customers and 25 charging stations owned by municipalities. Since 2019 we focused on the sustainable mobility market, offering SOLAR, a compact urban charging station for one e-bike, and SHELTER, a bigger charging station that act as a shelter with a bench, and has enough power to charge multiple vehicles.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Team or Organization URL

https://www.garageeks.com

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • No

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $50,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

30,000 - 35,000 USD for charging station manufacturing (steel structure and wooden bench built in USA) plus deployment and road works 5,000 USD for monitoring and maintenance 10,000 USD for project coordination, shipping, customs and travel expenses

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

We plan to install 2 SHELTER charging station and 2 SOLAR urban charging stations in selected locations. Sunlight exposure is a primary criterion. The integrated advertising areas of the charging stations make them stand and will be used to self-advertise the pilot project.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

All charging stations has real time usage monitoring. Data is collected and displayed in time series graphs, to allow compare results between locations, time of the day, environmental factors like temperature etc...

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

The service will self sustain thanks to two possible revenue sources: - selling advertising spaces - cooperation with a scooter sharing company as they can save a lot of money asking the users to bring the scooters to the charging station instead of paying Juicers to charge them at home As the biggest investment is the charging station itself, which is financed by the pilot project, in order to be financially sustainable the revenues just need to match the maintenance costs.

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garageeks Instagram: garageeks

2 comments

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Photo of Boratha Tan
Team

Thanks for submitting your proposal, Niccolò Gallarati ! I work with the facilitation team. I do have some questions concerning the design of the stations. I can't tell by the attachment, but would I need to bring my own charging cord for my e-bike if I want to use the charging station? Or is there a cord already installed in the station? What is the efficiency of the solar panels, especially in a climate zone such as Detroit?
Also, I do not know the data of city residents owning e-bikes. Is there some sort of database that shows the growing number of e-bikes being used in cities such as Detroit?

Photo of Niccolò Gallarati
Team

Dear Boratha, apologies for the delay, I saw your message now.
As you know, the biggest issue right now is lack of charging standard for e-bikes and other light electric vehicles.
Our STOP&CHARGE charging station charging method is customizable: AC outlet or specific charging cable, like fast charging EV charging stations. This why we left it neutral in the renderings.
The AC outlets are power limited to 250W each to avoid improper use and protected by RCD device for safety. This offers maximum compatibility, and less maintenance costs, but the downside is that the users need to bring their charger with them.
The integrated charging cable removes this downside, and it is safer because no AC current is user accessible. However compatibility would be limited to the charger brands chosen, and cables, despite being reinforced with a steel braid, are more prone to damage than a waterproof electrical outlet.
In the future, when a charging standard (such as EnergyBus) will hopefully emerge, STOP&CHARGE solar charging station can be upgraded, preserving the investment.

Regarding the efficiency of solar panels, in the Detroit area there is an average of 4kWh daily solar power per square meter, see the NREL map here (https://www.nrel.gov/gis/images/state-level-resource-maps/ghi/Michigan-ghi-2017-01.jpg)
We have 6 square meters with 16% of efficiency, this means the station will have no trouble keeping up with usage in summer season, and keeping the 4.8kWh storage topped up; it may run low during winter time, however the usage would decrease as well because of less favorable weather.
For an additional peace of mind, our inverter supports backup grid connection, which is used only when the solar power production is not enough.
Our architecture is immune to blackouts, like the one occurred this year on July 19th, and therefore it provides additional value as it can charge smartphones as well.
I'm not aware of publicly available database of e-bikes sales in specific cities, however the general consensus is that the US e-bike market growth was late compared to the European one, but it is increasing close to 100% Year over year.
Below some sources I have found. Hope I have addressed all your questions, but if not just let me know.

Niccolo

https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2018/the-us-bike-specialty-market-pedals-ahead-with-mountain-and-electric-bicycles-leading-the-pack/
https://eu.jsonline.com/story/money/business/2019/09/03/electric-bike-sales-boosting-sluggish-industry-growing-ridership/2135824001/