The future of urban driving could be solar-powered tricycles, which use much less energy to run and manufacture
Spotted: Increasingly, those interested in city planning and energy saving have been pointing out that it just doesn’t make sense to transport people or smaller amounts of goods around urban areas in traditional vehicles – even electric vehicles (EVs). Cars are large, heavy, and energy-intensive. Now, startup Infinite Mobility has developed an alternative – a solar-powered tuk-tuk designed for last-mile deliveries, or to efficiently carry just one or two people.
The company’s streamlined solar tricycles incorporate solar cells into the vehicle’s body. The diminutive size of the vehicles means they are cheaper to produce and buy than a four-wheeled vehicle. According to the company, six square metres of solar cells cost around $300 (around €284), and will produce up to 604 kilowatt-hours a year of power for the vehicle. At 60 watts per kilometre, the tricycles can travel up to 10,000 kilometres per year on solar energy alone – enough for the average urban user.
Infinite Mobility also points out that the tuk-tuks don’t need recharging from the grid, eliminating one annoyance of EV ownership. And there is another benefit – depending on where they’re based, many micro-mobility vehicles sales are now supported by subsidies from local, regional, or national governments.
Lupi Love, Infinite Mobility’s CEO, explains other benefits of micro-mobility solutions. “Micro-mobility vehicles are agile, can use cycle lanes, take shortcuts and park with ease. Meanwhile, traditional vehicles spent three times as long stuck in traffic and drive around looking for parking spaces. Whilst micro-mobility hardly needed to walk at all – having parked just outside the door, traditional vehicles drivers walked approximately a third of their total distance.”
While EVs have been getting all of the attention lately, solar-powered vehicles are definitely coming. We have seen this with innovations such as Squad Mobility’s solar microcars, a solar-powered mobility scooter, and even a parking garage powered by solar panels.
Written By: Lisa Magloff