Preparation of the Sun Trip Europe (March)

At the end of March, I took advantage of a period of full sun to restart my solar bike. I was able to carry out 3 outings before confinement, with several objectives:
– test the various modifications or repairs carried out on the bike this winter,
– get used to pedaling again for a whole day,
– test different settings to better manage engine consumption (my average consumption in Wh / km on the Sun Trip France in 2020 was quite high).

Another objective, not the least, was to take advantage of this beautiful spring atmosphere by visiting the Côte-d’Or and the Saône-et-Loire.

Course

Date GPS Dist.
km
D +
m
Tps
h: mn
Vit.
km/h
Conso
Wh
Solar
Wh
24-03  188 1625 6:45 27.8 2129 1722
31-03  210 1975 7:44 27.2 2354 1982
02-04  232 1590 8:40 26.8 2545 2010

Solar production

In this season, the solar radiation is obviously less strong than in summer, the available energy is about 60% of what it is in July. If during the summer of 2020 I collected around 3000 Wh / d on the best days, here I have recovered up to 2000 Wh / d, which is already not so bad.
The solar charge was increased thanks to the absence of wind which made it possible to ride with the panels tilted at the start and end of the day. But the wooded parts of the course made it difficult to catch the light, even with trees without leaves!

Engine consumption

To maintain a balance between consumption and production, I tested different settings in the Cycle Analyst depending on the terrain (maximum speed, maximum power, etc.)
On the first ride, I used too little the battery in the morning. So much so that during the meal break, with the panels perfectly oriented, my battery recharged very quickly. At half-time during the break, I had the feeling of “losing” this precious solar energy which could no longer enter my full battery!
During the next 2 outings, I corrected the shooting by increasing the speed in the morning and therefore the fuel consumption. Downtime is in fact privileged moments of charging when the panels can be perfectly oriented towards the sun.

Balance sheet

Overall, I managed to balance production and consumption until 5:30 p.m., then production became too low to cover consumption. And no question of reducing consumption: I had to be home by 7 p.m., curfew time!