A bicycle that produces electricity when pedalled might sound like an idea straight out of science fiction, but billionaire philanthropist Manoj Bhargava would disagree. Bhargava who showed off a prototype of his ‘electricity-creating cycle,’ plans to launch the same in India by March 2016.
Named Free Electric, since creating electricity via this stationary bicycle would be technically free, the product will be priced in the Rs 12,000 – 15,000 segment at launch.
‘Free Electric’ works by converting kinetic energy into electric energy. As the user pedals the flywheel, it spins a generator, which in turns charges the attached battery. The bicycle can be pedalled to directly light up other electric-powered components too.
“There are approximately 1.3 billion people around the world who are deprived of electricity and the free electric bicycle was conceived to provide electricity to this population,” said Manoj Bhargava, who was born in India but moved to the US during his teens. The US-based billionaire is confident that an hour’s worth of ‘cycling’ will be enough to address the electricity needs of a rural home. But don’t expect the free electricity cycle to start running your AC just yet. At max, the bike can light up 24 bulbs, power an electric fan and charge a mobile device simultaneously. The bicycle also comes bundled with a charging dock with three USB ports.
Currently the patent for the technology behind Free Electric is held by Bhargava, who plans to license it to few companies in order to expand the reach of his product.
At the launch event, Bhargava said the design and manufacturing would take place in US, but added he will manufacture the bike in India as well, to reduce final price.
After India, he plans to take the project to 50 other countries in the African continent and in the Middle-East region. The billionaire has already pledged 99 percent of his net worth of $4 billion to developing sustainable solutions.