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Sanyo solar-panel parking lots open for business

Sanyo has completed installation of parking lots in Tokyo for 100 of its eneloop electric bicycles. The lots will use solar power to recharge the bikes.


Soon after announcing a new series of eneloop electric bicycles, Sanyo has completed work on two solar-powered parking lots for 100 eneloop bikes in Tokyo.

The zero-emissions system involves high-efficiency 7.56kW HIT solar panels capturing energy that's used to recharge the lithium ion eneloop bike batteries and power LED lights illuminating the lots at night. No commercial power sources will be used, regardless of the available sunlight.

The solar parking lots are located along the Keio and Tokyu Den-en Toshi rail lines in the ward of Setagaya, a well-to-do community west of downtown Tokyo.

The eneloop bikes parked there will be available as community bicycles for local residents and visitors. It's unclear if there will be a fee or deposit to use them. A video on the Japanese press release shows the lots protected by turnstiles and fences.

The power-assist eneloop bikes take about 3.5 hours to recharge, according to the Sankei Shimbun newspaper. The battery recharging cabinets will also house standard outlets to power electrical equipment in an emergency.

Sanyo says the lots are part of its Smart Energy System, a major company initiative aimed at reducing CO2 by generating and storing renewable energy. Sanyo is promoting it as a solution for housing, transport, manufacturing, and other public facilities.