If everyone in your family took a turn, you could have free electricity and great legs for life!
A new electricity-generating bicycle will power a small home with modest electricity needs for just an hour of cycling a day.
It might sound like a lot of work to those of us accustomed to simply flipping a switch and not thinking about where our electricity comes from, but to the billions of people who live without it, the invention could be revolutionary.
The “unlucky half of the world” can’t afford to get connected to the electrical grid, much-less off-grid solar or wind power, says the Hans Free Electric bike‘s creator, billionaire Manoj Bhargava.
Bhargava made his $4 billion fortune selling 5-hour energy drinks, and says now that he has more money than he knows what to do with, he’d like to start tackling some of the world’s biggest problems, including lack of food, lack of clean water, and, lack of electricity.
His company, Stage 2 Innovations, is working on solutions to all three in the form of chemical-free fertilizer made from organic waste, desalination machines for affordable drinking water, and bicycles for affordable electricity.
Unlike expensive solar or wind energy, his Hans Free Electric bikes can be purchased for under $250 and then provide free electricity for decades.
If a family can’t afford the bike on their own, a village could go in on one and purchase several batteries to be charged and swapped out.
“Imagine living without reliable access to electricity,” says a documentary about the bike called Billions in Change. “Not only would you have no cell phone, computer or television, but it would also be difficult to light and heat your home or prepare food without burning wood, kerosene or coal. Your home would be smoky and you and your family would suffer from respiratory illness. In the sweltering summer heat, you would have no way to run a fan to cool off. That’s how half the world currently lives.”
That’s where the bike comes in. Here’s how it works:
“A person pedals the hybrid bicycle, which drives a flywheel system, which turns a generator, which charges a battery,” the documentary says. Pedaling for one-hour yields a day’s worth of electricity for an average rural household. It’s electricity on demand. There’s no utility bill, no need to buy fuel, no need to wait for the sun to shine or the wind to blow, and no pollution.”
The batteries store 300 watt hours of power – enough to to power two LED light bulbs for 6 hours, a fan for 3.5 hours, a small TV for 2 hours, or charge 6 mobile phones.
lights, cell phones, laptops, small TVs, and even an electric stove, heater or fan for several hours.
Bhargava has distributed about 10,000 Hans Free Electric bikes in India in the last couple of years and is working on a more expensive, higher power version for wealthier parts of the world.
His company is also working on tapping into what he calls “limitless” geothermal energy using graphene-cords, but says that invention “could get him killed” because of the geopolitical implications of virtually free energy, so for now he’s sticking to the bikes.