Thu, Oct 15, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Electric bicycle charging station to make US debut

MATCHMAKER:The Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Green Trade Project Office helps to meet clients’ requirements by integrating products from Taiwanese manufacturers

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

The first Taiwan-made solar energy charging station for electric bicycles is to become operational in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, in spring next year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday.

“From the rooftop solar panels, lithium-ion battery pack to the rubber floor, we gathered 10 Taiwanese companies to build this off-grid eco-friendly power station,” Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-fu (楊偉甫) told a media event at the annual PV Taiwan exhibition in Taipei.

The project came after the ministry last year inked a memorandum of understanding with US bicycle rental company Bike and Roll LLC to build a customized green-energy charging station for electric bicycles, Green Trade Project Office (GTPO) Deputy Director Wen Lih-chyi (溫麗琪) said.

“This is a chance for the nation to promote and integrate Taiwan’s green products and services in overseas markets,” Wen said.

She said the Eco-Power Station is an off-grid system that is entirely powered by solar energy and can operate around the clock without interruption.

The unit, which cost US$100,000 to build, is housed inside a renovated shipping container and its roof is covered with thin-film solar panels, Wen said.

The station can supply power to 10 electric bikes at a time, she added.

Users can easily monitor the station’s supply of electricity through an integrated smart energy management system and cloud-monitoring technology, she said.

While Bike and Roll and the office have not yet agreed on a payment method, the agency plans to charge the firm based on how much electricity it is able to conserve thanks to the Eco-Power Station, Wen said.

Last year, the US was the country with the largest installed solar power capacity, and it boasts great business opportunities for Taiwan’s solar power industry, Wen said, citing Industrial Economics and Knowledge Center statistics.

“The GTPO will continue to work with Bike and Roll to expand our reach in the US,” she said. “The next location we have in mind is Central Park in New York City.”

On top of exploring business opportunities in the US, Wen said she recently visited France to discuss different green energy solutions Taiwanese firms could offer, adding that such facilities do not necessarily have to be charging stations for electric bicycles, as solar energy stations have a variety of possible applications for daily use.

The office can pick the most suitable Taiwanese manufacturers and integrate their products and services to offer the most efficient green energy solutions to meet a client’s requirements, she said.

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