Mobility with a Touch of Soltech

I was able to win Sun Trip thanks to the SOLTECH panels. There is no doubt about that

In 2018 Raf participated with his solar bike in an international solar bike race ‘Sun Trip’, cycling from Lyon to China. And, he won! In 2021, the eco-adventurer will launch a new, improved bike model. All of the traditional bicycle parts have been rethought, refined and tested for mass production. A windshield with solar cells will provide less resistance and extra solar energy. A clever piece of R&D with an unseen potential.

The story of Raf and his solar bike has already been widely reported in various media sources. Much less known is the fact that the solar panels he used are the achievement of SOLTECH and its team of engineers. What’s more, Raf is convinced that he could never have won the race without our technology.

“If people aren’t laughing at your dreams… then they aren’t big enough!
― Grayson Marshall

Raf: “Ten years ago, I wanted to develop a cart to attach to my electric bike. The plan was to install a solar panel on the cart to increase the range of the battery to 70 km per day. When I initially approached SOLTECH with my idea, Stefan (Product Development Manager) first had to chuckle. But the engineers at SOLTECH like a challenge and eventually, together with Het Fietslab, they set off to work on the project.”

“I had to disconnect panels or I would overcharge my battery”

Together with his partners, Raf improved the design year after year. He confidently set out to participate in the Sun Trip in 2018. The combination of aluminium panels with SOLTECH cells was a success. “Few companies can properly laminate to aluminium,” Raf says, “the Belgians are lucky to have the right machine in Tienen. While the other candidates struggled with the heat, the aluminium panel ensured sufficient heat dissipation.

“The output was so high at times that I had to disconnect cells to prevent my battery from being overcharged. Other participants would just stand there and look at it (jealously).”
Raf Van Hulle 

Betrouwbaarheid van het materiaal belangrijkste factor voor succeReliability of Materials: The Most Important Factor for Success

You should be able to rely on materials. The solar modules from SOLTECH are flexible, light-weight and shock-proof. These are very important properties for a crucial component that has to endure a lot when exposed to the elements. Should one cell break, it will just let the current through and the others will not switch off. An improvement that makes all the difference in the world.

Complete Freedom of Mobility, Less of a Dream Than a Reality

In 2021, Raf will be ready for the future with his latest solar bike. He has replaced his cart by an aerodynamic windshield with solar cells. Raf: “The new wind shield was only possible because of the application of very flexible solar cells. It is now possible to create a curve that was previously unachievable.” This set-up, combined with optimisations to the bike’s frame, ensures that we are nearly ready for mass production. Together with Het Fietslab, Raf even went a step further. All bike components are easily maintained or replaced by yourself when necessary. The ingenious product development brings complete freedom of mobility within everyone’s reach.

 

“A bicycle constructed so simply that it is easy to maintain and repair, combined with solar panels that not only propel you forward, but also provide enough energy to charge your smartphone, or run the lights, give you unprecedented freedom.”
Raf Van Hulle

Cycling the Race… and Back

Raf: “My dream? Next time when we go Sun Tripping to China, I will also cycle back because distance is no longer an obstacle. The feeling of the sun supplying energy directly to the battery is fantastic. When the sun comes back out from behind the clouds and the engine gains power, like a sailboat, that’s pure bliss.”

More info?

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These projects got a touch of SOLTECH as well

Uw project vol energie

Wat uw project ook is, Soltech steekt het vol energie. Stand alone of building integrated. Met ‘a touch of SOLTECH’ is ook uw project in een handomdraai een duurzame referentie in zijn soort.