Trikes Power up with Solar, Wind

In the fourth of our five-part blog series on three-wheel electric hybrid bikes, we discuss cutting edge patented technologies on battery life.

There are quite a few e-bikes entering the market today, most offering an average travel of 40 miles per charged battery. While exchanging drained batteries with recharged ones isn’t a concept in the market yet, these three-wheel hybrid bikes are treading the electric car route to fuel themselves through a cord connected to a power outlet.

Lithium-ion or NiMH – Who will win the rat race?

Lithium-ion batteries are the strong favourites for trike makers. While many continue to include the bulky and difficult to maintain lead-acid batteries just for the purpose of saving costs, lithium-ion is set to take centre stage in the near future. This is primarily attributed to the light weight of lithium. Added to it is its low maintenance cost as it does not require scheduled cycling to prolong its life. But the biggest advantage is that it has a self-discharge rate that is over 50% lesser than its nickel-cadmium counterpart, making it an ideal battery for trikes. JP 2014061736 A, focusing on safety features for trikes, discloses exemplary use of Lithium-ion batteries or Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries.

Patent application CN 202827176 U

Patent application CN 202827176 U

But NiMH batteries are competing strongly in this space, pitching their lightweight and compactness. NiMH batteries have a higher energy density over Nickel Cadmium batteries and Lead-acid batteries making it a growing choice among automotive manufacturers. Lithium-ion batteries exceed the energy density expectations but high cost and being unsafe in nature restricts them from being thoroughly adopted.

There is a spring fountaining across major cities of the world encouraging the coming age of safety-enhanced e-bikes. Industry trends predict that this demand is going to increase manifold in the near future, which means consumers are going to critically analyze the battery performance of these vehicles. In a bid to cater to this market demand, the automobile industry is researching heavily on enhancing super capacitors to enhance battery life and ensure a powerful start and acceleration.

Application CN 202827176 U discloses use of super capacitors for trikes that include a solar panel on the roof as the main charging controller. This super capacitor is connected with the motor to power the trike. The invention claims that this technology will have the advantages of high battery charging speed, long service life, no influence from low temperature, large accumulated electric quantity, increased trip distance and better practicability.

Revving up the force

The electromotive force (EMF) is extremely important to ensure a well-performing battery. With electric trikes making headway to a welcoming market across the world, research in fuel cell technology is gaining ample traction. An industry study by UK H2Mobility predicts the world’s roads will include about 10,000 fuel cell vehicles by 2020, and about 300,000 in the following decade.

Harnessing natural energy resources

On-the-fly charging is extremely essential for electric trikes to support it through long drives. While power units for charging electric vehicles are now available across a gamut of places, researchers are looking at including solar panels and tiny wind turbines in the bike to ensure powering up on the go. Multiple patent applications, disclosing safety features for trikes, indicate use of solar panels to provide power to the trike. Few exemplary patent applications are CN 203246335 U, CN 2734547 Y and CN 201863730 U.

A project in the UK is already experimenting with solar-paneled roads to help electric vehicles charge while they drive over it. But automobile researchers are adding on by improving recharge technology through regenerative braking. Similar inventions are disclosed in published patent applications such as WO 9911507 A1, US 20120181765 A1, US 2012139328 A1.

Mobility is a much researched field today, and electric bikes are bound to change the way we travel. With safety concepts taking shape and enhanced battery technology to reckon with, electric trikes are going to become powerful means of safe transport.

(Featured image source: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4080/4749854056_4cc96afca6_b.jpg)

Surbhi Ashri
Surbhi Ashri

Surbhi is a patent professional who is working towards donning the role of a businesswoman and philanthropist. She enjoys learning about developments in the field of medical science. A pen collector, she enjoys feeding gourmet meals to pigeons.


Himanshu Makhija
Himanshu Makhija

Himanshu is an IP Analyst with expertise in medical devices, including human body implants. He is an automobile and retail enthusiast and this reflects in his blogs.


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