Another solar trike is out on a long journey. And it is the AZUB TRIcon trike again. This time Rob Longstaff will ride such trike across USA and Australia. Pretty nice trip, isn`t it?
With the help and support of companies SOLARC(DE), AZUB (CZ) and AKKUTRIKE(DE) I have built a state of the art Solar Electric Trike, herein referred to as SET. I chose the bicycle company AZUB, not only for its quality, but for the unique folding capabilities of one of its Trikes, the TRIcon. SOLARC provided the solar panels and AKKUTRIKE did the conversion from standard pedal to pedelectic. My ultimate aim was to create a hybrid (Human/Electric) vehicle capable of covering a daily distance similar to that of a standard petroleum fuelled vehicle. Although its common for people to do ludicrously long trips (800kms+/day) at dangerous speeds in cars, I am aiming for a sensible, attainable 400km/day, a distance that many, if not most, traditional car drivers would deem sufficient. My SET will also be using approximately 95% less alloy and 99% less plastic than a car, and of course will not be relying on traditional fuel for power. The other major ‘selling point’ of this vehicle is that it folds down into fairly standard sized luggage so if need be, it will fit onto a train or bus without raising too many eyebrows, thereby supporting and promoting public transport and offering genuine and direct competition to the convenience and capabilities of a car.
I suspect that the American winter, even in the south, is not the perfect testing ground for the solar aspect of the SET, although it is cloud cover (not temperature) that determines solar panel efficiency. I will make some final adjustments to the SET at a friend’s house in Baltimore, and officially begin the American leg of my journey in late January.
The real solar capabilities of the SET will be revealed late in the Australian summer; it has been estimated that in direct sunlight, the panels will add 80-100kms/day to my overall distance.
My Australian journey will either cover the east coast (North to South), a journey to the centre (I’ve never seen Uluru), or if I’m feeling particularly motivated and if I have time, a complete (land) circumnavigation of the whole country.
Outcome and Aims
I want to have a good time, I want to satisfy my sponsors and I want people who see me to think about alternative energy, alternative means of transportation and their own impact on this finite and fragile planet. Another aim is to eat and sleep sustainably during this trip. This would mean eating local, organic and seasonal (possibly dumpster diving) and camping. I’m not sure if I have the energy to make every aspect of this trip sustainable, but I will do my best.
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