Riding on the Sun

I’m always on the lookout for the next innovation in motorcycle technology. I’ve blogged about new engines as well as alternate power plants. I’ve talked about the KMV4 engine Katech is developing for Motus, and the electric E1PC from MotoCzyzs. I even did a piece about the motorcycles one might find in Paramount’s Motion Picture, “Star Trek,” and thought I’d stretched the imagination with flying bikes. But even in my most creative prognostications, I always focused on the motorcycles. I always assumed that roads, as long as we had them, would be paved with asphalt or concrete. I even envisioned a future when some biker would have the roads to himself on his vintage ground rolling bikes, while all of the contemporary vehicles of his day whizzed overhead. I thought the only change in roads might be that they eventually would disappear as they were no longer needed. I pictured cracked concrete and asphalt roads with weeds growing out of them, dusty from lack of use. It just never occurred to me these abandoned roads might be made of something else.
Roads made of solar cells are not an idea I would ever have come up with on my own. There is a certain appeal to the idea of having those millions of miles of ribbon laying there collecting power for the country rather than heat. I get the idea from the video that you wouldn’t even need to paint them. Just have any markings you need programed into the LED displays. And those markings could quickly and easily be changed as needed without ever touching a paint bucket.
But as much as I admit liking the idea, I have a hard time believing the logistical challenge of making something like this feasible can be overcome. The video also talks about the special glass that could stand up to the weight of an 18-wheeler. I’ve seen transparent material that is that durable, but it is extremely expensive. If we’re going to start paving hundreds of thousands of miles of road with it, it’s going to have to be cheap. And it will require more than just durability. It will have to maintain traction in many different weather conditions, while staying transparent enough for solar energy to pass through to the collectors. It will take some special kind of glass to make me feel safe taking a corner on two wheels in wet conditions.
I just don’t see this happening on any large scale. I’d sure like to be wrong.

— Guy Wheatley

Road made of solar cells

Road made of solar cells

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