Noël Wilmes and his e-cargo bike
"It's the best of both worlds: my e-cargo bike allows me to be active and outdoors and to work at the same time!"
Noël Wilmes talks about the e-cargo bike that he purchased with the help from Zuid-Limburg Bereikbaar.
‘The range of the e-cargo bike when fully loaded and at the speed that I like to cycle is only 40 kilometres. I work in Maastricht and the surrounding municipalities, which means that I have to cycle quite a large distance every day. Luckily, the e-cargo bike allows me to cycle all day without needing to charge my bike again at home. I can even charge my phone and trimmers with the battery.’
A present to myself
‘The solar panel project is a present that I gave to myself and is something that I really enjoyed working on.’ Noël initially built a lid to keep his hairdressing equipment safe and dry. ‘I started by spanning iron bars for the framework of the lid. I then covered the framework with polyester fibre and resin. After some sanding and spraying the lid was done.’
Extendable second solar panel
While making the lid, Noël came up with the idea to place solar panels on top. ‘One solar panel didn't have enough capacity, so I needed at least two. I couldn't fit two solar panels on the lid, so I made a second extendable solar panel.’ When Noël is busy with a client, the bicycle stands idle and the second solar panel can be extended to charge the double capacity battery.
28 kWh generated
‘My e-cargo bike has a carve mechanism steering system that allows it to take corners smoothly. This allows me to turn the body towards the sun and get as much sunlight as possible. I also have an app on my phone that tells me how much solar energy is being generated. I have been cycling with my solar panels since April and have generated 28kWh in energy since then.’
The best of both worlds
‘I only use my car when I need to travel long distances. Recently I had planned to take the car to go to clients in Ulestraten and Geulle. But the weather was so great that I decided to take the e-cargo bike instead. It offered the best of both worlds: my e-cargo bike allows me to be active and outdoors and to work at the same time!’
What happens next?
‘I'm now looking for better solar panels with a higher capacity but with the same flexibility. At 18 kilogrammes, the lid is also very heavy and affects the capacity. It would be great if the lid could be lighter and get a universal attachment system, so that it can also be used on other cargo bikes and more people can use it. But they should all have solar panels, of course!’