Solar Motorcycle

Let’s face it, we like motorcycles because they go fast, make noise, and look cool, so a silent bike that can’t power up to highway speed might raise a few eyebrows in rough-and-tumble biker hangouts. That said, a new concept motorcycle from Spain is breaking some rules—but becoming very environmentally friendly in the process. 

The Moto Solar Urbana project from Spanish company SunRed is designed as the first motorcycle that will operate strictly on solar power and it’s that feature that gives it a unique snail-like appearance.

It’s not too hard to find enough space on a car for the solar panels needed to power it, but the smaller surface area of a motorcycle provides some design challenges.  To overcome that obstacle, SunRed has created a retractable clamshell cover which allows the bike to maximize solar panel coverage when it’s not being ridden.

While emissions-free electric motorcycles aren’t new (and lately some of them are turning in some pretty impressive performance stats) the Moto Solar Urbana is the first bike designed to be entirely energy self-sufficient, giving it an environmental footprint not much bigger than that of the average pedestrian.

The idea was impressive enough to garner the prize for Best Innovative Technology at the Barcelona International Auto Show earlier this month.

When built, the bike is expected to be able to travel travel about 13 miles at 30 miles per hour. Granted, a bike that whirs along at a leisurely 30 mph and resembles a giant garden slug probably isn’t going be an immediate hit with the Sturgis crowd, but hey, it’s solar. Solar, dammit!

At the moment the Moto Solar Urbana exists only in model form, but SunRed hopes to have a full size prototype available for environmentalist envy and biker bafflement in the near future. However, even if the bike never sees commercial production, the company expects that the data garnered from the design exercise will prove useful in the design of future solar powered vehicles.

Via Autobloggreen


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