A French start-up has become the first company to start factory production of hydrogen-powered bicycles for use in corporate or municipal fleets.
The firm’s Alpha bike runs for about 100 km on a two-liter tank of hydrogen, a range similar to an electric bike, but a refill takes only minutes while e-bikes take hours to charge.
Image credit: Pragma Industries
Pragma Industries, which is based in Biarritz, France and makes fuel cells for military use, has sold some 60 hydrogen-powered bikes to French municipalities including Saint Lo, Cherbourg, Chambery and Bayonne.
One kilo of hydrogen holds about 600 times more energy than a one-kilo lithium battery. The refueling stations produce hydrogen through the electrolysis of water as well cheaper tank-based stations.
The bikes, which look and ride the same as any normal bicycle, are aimed at bike-rental operators, delivery companies, and municipal or corporate bicycle fleets with intensive usage.
With bike’s range limited by the size of the hydrogen tank, Pragma is also working on a bike that will convert plain water into hydrogen aboard the bike, using a chemical reaction between water and aluminum or magnesium powder to produce hydrogen gas.
Manufactured for corporate use, the bikes are pretty expensive at about a price of 7,500 Euros per bike. However, wanting to foray into the consumer market, Pragma said that the company has been thinking about bringing the price down to 5,000 Euros.
Pragma, produced 100 hydrogen bikes last year and plans to manufacture 150 this year. It has received demand from Norway, the United States, Spain, Italy and Germany.
I understand that Medecins Sans Frontieres is piloting a portable solar powered electrolysis kit for delivering oxygen in the field – old science with new applications.
Hydrogen powered 2-Wheeler will definitely a better alternative and can economies of scale make it the preferred alternative to battery power for developing countries like India and China?
Amazing invention, thought electrolysis process needs more energy. I am sure it has not reached commercial scale. There is a concern for using the most hazardous & flammable gas like hydrogen but it could be resolved by implementing the best safety technology in place.
We need more renewable energy powered transportation to save our environment and reduce global warming. The researchers should focus on using this hydrogen technology to bigger vehicles like cars and trucks.