Technical Stuff

Since I started using the blog for travel updates, some of the older technical articles have gotten buried so this page is an attempt to organize the most useful technical info on the site in one place.

I assume you are interested in converting your own ebike to a solar powered touring machine. If you are completely new to solar bikes, here’s a great intro video produced by Grin Technologies.

And here’s an overview of my build and planned adventure.

If you’re hungry for more, I’ve written some articles for the first-time builder. The aim was to distill my years of tinkering with this stuff into practical advice, broken up into digestible chunks.

If you’re interested in a deeper dive into my own builds over the years, there’s an extensive thread on the Endless Sphere forum and a photo-heavy overview post of the early years called backstory of my solar ebike.

For an even deeper dive, here are some spreadsheets:

  • 2021 US tour statistics: Google spreadsheet with daily distance, speed, energy, etc. from my 5400 mile trip from Vancouver to San Diego. In particular, the average values and daily variability should be useful for anyone planning something similar.
  • 2018 SunTrip statistics: Google spreadsheet with data from 19 solar teams who rode from France to China
  • SOLAR ebike Trip Planner: Interactive Google spreadsheet. Enter any major city and get detailed solar energy and range estimates for a solar ebike with any combination of fixed/tilted solar panels. Follow the directions in red, then enter your own values in the yellow highlighted cells. This ties into the U.S. Department of Energy’s online solar calculator (PVWatts API). Calculations are based on historical weather data, including many locations outside the U.S. I’m not actively maintaining this but it still appears to work as of February 2022. Additional instructions and details can be found on the ES forum here.