Operation Helios – Xtracycle Cargo Bikes

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Picture by David Monje on Unsplash

The next is a guest-post from Cameron Turner

Just a few years in the past, it was introduced that our youngsters’ college, situated a block from our home, would shut. In our seek for a brand new college we discovered one which checked all our bins.

Nonetheless, the brand new college is about 4 miles from our home. Unwilling to surrender our car-free college commute, we brainstormed options. Too far to stroll, too far for youths to bike, and too far for Dad to bike with youngsters on the again, we have been caught.

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Entire-family outing, circa 2015

Years earlier than, we had invested within the Xtracycle EdgeRunner to get youngsters to/from preschool on the Stanford campus, the place the very best routes are blocked to vehicles however open to bikes. What if we electrified our outdated bike to resolve our drawback?

After a search and help ticket Xtracycle.com we have been put in contact with a motorbike store in Castro Valley who have been prepared to retrofit our bike with a Bafang 1000-watt electric motor and battery kit.

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On the primary test-ride I used to be hooked. I may fake this was a sensible and environmental resolution to keep away from use of our gas-powered automobile, however the pleasure of gliding silently (and effortlessly in that case desired) by means of the facet streets of Palo Alto and Menlo Park on an electrical bike was merely a thrill.

Whereas electrical vehicles and bikes maintain big potential to lowering carbon emissions, they nonetheless fail to reply the environmental and financial query of what’s upstream: the supply of electrical energy. In response to the Palo Alto utility, roughly 2/3rds of Palo Alto electrical energy comes from giant hydroelectric dams, actually extra climate-friendly than coal crops, however these sources include their very own environmental impacts.

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Supply: Metropolis of Palo Alto Utilities

The apparent place to show was photo voltaic — With a $100 Mighty Max photo voltaic panel on the storage roof, a $449 Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station, and some connectors, we had a stand-alone energy station within the again yard that was greater than satisfactory to energy the day by day 8-mile round-trip to/from college.

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Yeti 400 (www.goalzero.com)

Whereas it took a few tries to get the configuration appropriate, we’re now over 2,300 miles on this photo voltaic panel > energy station > electrical bike stand-alone resolution. Our automobile will get ~23 miles a gallon, so 100 gallons of gasoline have saved us $400 {dollars} already, unbiased of insurance coverage, upkeep, and so on.

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In response to the EIA, every gallon of gasoline additionally quantities to roughly 20 kilos of CO2, so our little rig has already lowered carbon emissions by 2,000 kilos!

Within the winter we often have to high up the battery with home AC, when the times develop brief, and shadows lengthy. However Spring by means of Fall this arrange has given us extra energy than we want, not only for the college commute however varied jaunts round city.

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Mighty Max Photo voltaic Panels in our again yard

In abstract, listed below are the provides wanted:

  • One 100 watt Mighty Max photo voltaic panel: $100 (now $77)
  • One 400 watt Yeti Purpose Zero energy station: $449
  • 1000 watt Bufang motor and battery equipment: $1000
  • Skilled set up of above: $200
  • Upgraded solar cable (for connecting panels to energy station): $24

All-in, we’re at $1773 (not together with bike) for this arrange. This (together with Palo Alto’s gentle local weather) has additionally enabled us to turn out to be a 1-car household.

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Supply: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helios

Helios was a greek god was recognized for driving the chariot of the solar throughout the sky every day based on historic mythology. Whereas the above is nothing so grandiose as this, there may be nothing higher than driving together with your youngsters on our personal solar-powered chariot to highschool, gliding previous site visitors within the bike lane.

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Please attain out in case you’d like tips about how you can arrange your personal! [email protected]

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