Back in 2003, Indian-American philanthropist and businessman Manoj Bhargava launched 5-Hour Energy, the heavily concentrated energy shot you see on every convenience store counter. By 2012, 5-Hour Energy had grown to a billion dollar business, and as a result, Bhargava had become a very wealthy man. Setting an incredible example for how power and fortune can be used for good, Bhargava pledged 99% of his net worth to improving the livelihoods of the world’s less-fortunate. He established a company, Billions in Change, which describes itself as a social movement and seeks to create immediate technological solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems.
There is a common saying in bicycling advocacy that the bicycle “is a simple solution to some of the world’s most complicated problems.” Bhargava and his team took that premise and ran with it, developing a high-tech stationary hybrid bicycle that generates 24 hours of electricity for a single-family home through only 1 hour of pedalling. As a video about the bicycle notes, half the world’s population lives without electricity, or only has access to electricity for 2-3 hours per day. That’s around 3 billion people who are making do without the one element that enables so many of our daily activities to take place. “Everything requires energy,” explains Bhargava in the video. “Energy is the great equalizer…Human mechanical energy is so amazing. Why can’t we use that to create energy?”
The Free Electric is being billed as the cheapest, most sustainable form of electricity generation worldwide. It harnesses the power of human movement to generate reliable electricity that can light homes, charge devices, and generally run all of the appliances and programs necessary to participate fully in the modern world. If the 3 billion people who currently go without electricity were to use this system, that would be half the world’s population powering their homes without generating an ounce of pollution. That would be 3 billion people who have previously been locked out of prosperity by their lack of access to reliable electricity finally being able to develop their communities.
“Now all of these poor who were not contributing to their outside world, now they’re all bringing it up,” Bhargava explains. “All of the sudden they’re on the internet, they’re getting educated. The real thing is to get the poor out of poverty, and one of the basics is energy.”
In addition to its application in impoverished communities, the bike would also be incredibly useful for emergency power generation in the case of natural disasters, as the video notes. The Free Electric bicycle is ready to go, and Bhargava recently announced plans to bring the first 10,000 units to poverty-stricken communities in India.
Get your FREE copy of: Momentum Mag's Bike Lock Guide
In this guide, we share stats on bicycle theft, the best ways to lock your bike and which ways to avoid, types of locks to use, new technologies combating theft, a directory of brands and much more!
Please select your country and provide a valid email address
Thank you for your submission. Please check your inbox to download the guide!