The hydrogen bike is now a reality, and don’t misread it. It is not a bicycle “made of hydrogen”, it is a bicycle powered by hydrogen.
There are now many projects for hydrogen-powered vehicles, from cars, planes and boats to flying trucks and taxis. However, very little has been heard of hydrogen-electric bicycles, which are now also looking to carve a niche for themselves in this ambitious technology that wants to take off around the world as a green alternative.
‘Alter Bike’ was a project born six years ago, which sought to make an electric bicycle powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Today, after several years of research and development, ‘Alter Bike’ has been transformed into ‘Alpha’, which will undoubtedly be the first hydrogen bicycle to go into large-scale production.
“Alpha”, the first hydrogen bike
‘Alter Bike’ was born as an initiative of the French company Pragma Industries, focused on the manufacture of hydrogen fuel cells, which, with the support of Cycleurope, which designs bicycles, and BMS PowerSafe, which is in charge of designing battery management systems, was able to give life to this interesting novelty in the world of cycling.
‘Alpha’ is their first official product, and they say it is ready to go into full-scale production in the coming months of 2020 and start marketing it worldwide.
Inside the ‘Alpha’ bicycle there is a lithium-ion battery and a fuel cell, which is powered by a hydrogen cylinder. Its managers hope that in the future they will be able to launch reusable hydrogen cartridges, which will serve to fill the cylinder according to the needs and thus be able to extend the autonomy of the bicycle on the move, taking into account the current shortage of hydrogen recharging stations.
According to the manufacturer’s specifications, the ‘Alpha’ cylinder has a capacity of 300 bar, which would offer a range of up to 150 km, which is an extremely interesting figure if we take into account that the electric bicycles that currently exist offer an average of only 50 km between each battery recharge.
Another point that stands out in the ‘Alpha’ bicycle and which is a marvel, especially in a world that is becoming increasingly rushed, is its recharging time, which is approximately two minutes, according to its creators, while the electric bicycles need between 3 and 4 hours to charge their battery.
Pierre Forte, CEO of Pragma, mentioned:
“Alpha fuel cell bikes offer significant advantages over electric battery bikes, both in terms of autonomy and refueling. While batteries typically take several hours to recharge, hydrogen cylinders can be refilled in less than two minutes. For large fleet services, this is invaluable.”
The rest of the specifications are complemented by a 150 Wh lithium-ion battery, an electric motor offering 250 W pedal assistance, and a top speed of 25 km/h.
According to those in charge, the idea is that ‘Alpha’ will go into production at the beginning of 2020 and its aim is to serve first for shared bicycle service platforms, public services and company transport, and later in the year to go on sale to the general public.
As for the price, the company has not yet defined it and taking into account the situation of the current world paralyzed by the Coronavirus, it is likely that the official launch of this wonderful bike, will take a little longer than expected.