by David Cameron
After 18 months the testing of e-bykes (electric bicycles) in Barbados is complete and the results analyzed. The following summary of analysis has taken into account current regulations determined from the Barbados Ministry of Transport.
The 500Watt Canadian versions used for the testing were adequate for majority of Barbados as long as the inclines are not too steep (>12°). The Canadian versions can be used as a mode of transportation for over 75% of Barbados.
- The units proved to be excellent for use in heavy traffic during rush hour periods as long as you were not following a bus or a garbage truck.
- Operating time was found to be 2.5 hrs providing a range of 45km with a fully charged 48V 20Ah battery.
- The correct use of electric vehicles in the hotter Caribbean temperatures did not affect the life and use of any electrical or electronic component.
- Corrosion is a significant factor and there is a slight increase in the maintenance required:
- All metal in the units must be of high quality grade steel construction and have adequate corrosion protection or paint.
- The possibility of flooded roads and heavy rain requires:
- Battery units must be enclosed in a waterproof container,
- All electrical wire harnesses must be sealed and watertight if below the centre of gravity,
- All connections to the electrical wire harnesses must be watertight and prevent the possible ingress of water during heavy rain,
- Controlling electrical components except for batteries and the electric motor must be located above the centre of gravity and must be watertight,
- The centre of gravity of the vehicle must be low to assist in safe use on wet roads.
- Any parts used by the operator when the unit is in use must be of a minimum of auto-standard quality when manufactured and installed i.e.: Power throttle, Light assemblies, all switches, Brake cables and brake hydraulics
- All fastening arrangements must have vibration & noise padding.
- All battery charging arrangements must have surge protection for use in Barbados and be capable of being used with both 110AC & 120AC Voltages and with both the 50Hz & 60Hz power sources that are available.
- Tubeless tires should be a minimum of 7.62cm (3”) thick and a minimum of 4-ply, and a means of quick repair should be available as an emergency repair kit.
- Tube tires should be a minimum of 6.35cm (2.5”) thick, a minimum of 4-ply and have a puncture protection liner (Tube tires are recommended for ease of repair).
- Operating cost in Barbados has been determined to be 50cents (BBD) a day.
- Unit costing (unit cost, shipping and taxes) are high but affordable in Barbados.
- The costing is significantly less than that of an automobile.
- The current repair capability in Barbados is limited but the skill-set does exist as evidenced with the assistance for repairs undertaken throughout the testing.
Previous BFP articles on electric bicycles
September 24, 2010: Cameron Electric Vehicles aiming to help Barbados go green!
November 5, 2009: Barbados Electric Bicycle Experience – Great, until Sugar Hill
1946 Raymond LaBrosse St Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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