Ebike which self charges now a reality thanks to French manufacturer PI-POP

  • The new ‘PI-POP’ ebike swaps Lithium-Ion batteries for supercapacitors that recharge from pedal power and downhill runs
  • The company claims the super-capacitor solution has a lifespan between 10-15 years, higher than a Li-ion battery
  • Sustainability also takes the centre stage, due to the materials used and high recyclability

An ebike which never needs plugging in

French bike manufacturer PI-POP announced that after seven years of development, its electric city bike which forgoes a conventional battery, or the need to recharge, is finally ready for the market.

Instead of the rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery used in conventional ebikes, the PI-POP uses a supercapacitor energy storage system. This is recharged when pedalling on flat terrain, coasting downhill, or braking. The supercapacitor is made out of aluminium, carbon, cellulose, and polymer. The company says that this choice reduces the bike’s carbon footprint, as these materials are “relatively easy to process” and they already have “reprocessing channels” for these materials. Of course, the lack of needing to plug into the mains further reduces the carbon footprint of the bike.

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For people who don’t have space to charge an ebike indoors, or don’t want to bring a dirty bike inside to charge, especially in the winter months, PI-POP’s offering could be the perfect solution.

The company does note that this is a product designed for the city, rather than powering up lengthy country hills. The bike is “calibrated to climb 500 metre long slopes with a 10% incline”, so it’s not a replacement for a lithium-ion ebike for tackling steep, extended climbs. However, with the right mix of flat riding and small hills, the bike effectively has an infinite range.

Diagram of the PI-POP ebike going up and down slopes. It leaves its initial destination with a half charged battery, and goes up and down a number of hills with battery recharging on the downhill sections. It arrives at its destination with more energy stored.
Pictured: A diagram of the PI-POP’s varying super-capacitor energy stores as it goes up and down hill

The electric motor itself is a 250w unit, the power you’d expect from an entry-level electric bicycle. It provides pedal assistance up until the mandatory limiter of 25km/h. Pedal above this speed, and you’ll be recharging the bike instead.

The PI-POP is available for purchase directly from the manufacturer in France from September this year, at a price of 2,450€ (around £2,100).

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