Sunshine Cycles is a project, based in Byron Bay, that promotes solar-powered electric bike use by creating a ‘bike share’ innovation. This new business is now hitting the Gold Coast.
Users book the environmentally-friendly bikes via the app and after being used, they are collected to be recharged in their ‘Sunpods’, solar-powered automated shipping containers with smart home tech.
Project founder Luke Young self-funded and built his first Sunpod in 2017, then thanks to some seed funding and advice from a green tech accelerator program, and with the help of investors, the business is now operating with six bespoke Sunpods, enabling it to expand further north. We were keen to chat to Luke about this innovative concept.
What gave you the idea to pursue a project like this and put it into motion?
I was working as a contract Industrial Abseiler for most of my adult life. The one thing that became apparent as I got older is that I was working in industries where I was putting my energy into old systems that have been a big part of the environmental issues we face today. As I became increasingly concerned about how we will have to change – and rapidly – to clean energy, I realised if I didn’t find a way to work in a business that was part of the solution rather than part of the problem I would regret it later in my life.
How common do you think sustainable modes of transport such as electric bikes are now?
There has been a massive shift in urban transportation over the last couple of years. I mean you only need to sit in the traffic heading to Brisbane to see how inefficient the current systems are in terms of pollution, lost time and risk. People all over the world are sharing ideas on how to increase efficiency and implement new technology to solve issues we are facing. Time is of the essence and it is incredible to see the response of our current political leaders to these issues. It is a real eye opener to who and what is influencing their decision making. Certainly not the health of our people and planet.
You can see these amazing scooter share operations and the scale at which they grow. Once we have fine-tuned our system, we will be looking at taking on investment after summer to create some truly amazing and unique components to our business that will continue to be world firsts.
What does success mean for you?
Our aim is to be a completely zero emission business model that’s good for the communities we operate in as well as good for the planet environmentally. We want to actively be part of the solution to the problems we have created and channel funds back into grass roots environmental and social enterprises. Success for us means what we contribute to a better world for all life.
Where do you see this project progressing to in the future?
Once we prove the new system over summer, we will be raising capital to create our truly unique operation platform. We will fund some design upgrades and establish a robust and attractive offer document to bring on the skills to scale around the country. We plan to be the traveller’s choice of exploring new areas and also offering cheap green transport around town for locals. Something they can be proud off with our beautiful bikes that are a dream to ride. We aim to have 100 Sunpods build locally by 2024 and 1000 by 2029. And the reason we want this level of success is so we can make real change in the world and assist others who have the ideas and the passion and the heart and need the resources to make it happen.
If you’re keen to have some solar-powered fun over summer, visit sunshinecycles.com.au, grab the app, and get riding, Gold Coast.