The brainchild of French entrepreneur Adrien Lelièvre, the Pi-Pop e-bike uses a supercapacitor to store energy rather than rely on batteries.
If riding a bike on a daily basis is too much of a challenge for you, you might be tempted to opt for an e-bike. The issue with those is that the production of the batteries consumes a lot of natural resources such as lithium or rare-earth elements which require extensive and often environmentally impactful mining procedures.
French entrepreneur Adrien Lelièvre, however, has engineered a pioneering, sustainable solution. He's called it the Pi-Pop e-bike.
“The system gets charged when the ride is easy and when the bike brakes - thanks to engine braking - the energy is given back when needed,” Lelièvre told Euronews Next.
To put it simply, a supercapacitor works by stocking energy in an electrostatic way, or by way of a slow-moving charge. In contrast, a lithium battery stocks energy as a chemical reaction. In other words, a supercapacitor can stock and release energy very quickly when it is needed. In the case of its bike, it means stocking energy when the person pedals or brakes and using it to assist more difficult actions like restarting or uphill riding.
Currently, Pi-Pop produces 100 bikes a month and aims to to produce a thousand bikes monthly by 2024. The third generation of the bike costs €2450 ($2,595).