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This E-Bike Doesn’t Need a Battery

Adrien Lelièvre, has recently engineered a sustainable solution to power the e-bike boom. According to Euronews, Lelièvre “designed and patented an e-bike called Pi-Pop, which doesn’t use lithium batteries but supercapacitors.”

Lelièvre told Euronews, “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.”

So, what exactly is a supercapacitor?

A supercapacitor essentially stocks up energy in the form of a slow-moving charge, which can be released when needed. A battery stocks up energy as a chemical reaction. This means that the bike is constantly stocking up energy when ridden on easier terrain, and then using that energy when going uphill, in the form of an assist.

According to TS2, “Supercapacitors, which have been around since the late 1970s, offer several advantages over lithium batteries. Rather than relying on the consumption of natural resources like lithium or rare-earth elements, supercapacitors store energy through electrostatic means. This allows them to stock and release energy quickly, providing instant assistance to riders when needed.”

Unlike many other e-bike manufacturers, Pi-Pop also uses recyclable materials such as carbon, conducting polymer, aluminum foils, and pulp, thus avoiding the need for rare earth elements in its production.

TS2 reports that “the longevity of the Pi-Pop sets it apart from traditional e-bikes. While lithium batteries typically last five to six years, the supercapacitors in the Pi-Pop are projected to have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. This prolongs the bike’s usability, reducing waste and minimizing the environmental impact associated with battery disposal.”

Another perk to the Pi-Pop bike is that there’s never a need to charge it when it’s stationary. You’ll never hop on the bike and realize you forgot to charge it up.

Euronews reports that according to Lelièvre, “We can’t innovate if we lose control of production. When we talk about sustainable development, ecological transition, and energy transition, we need to provide the jobs.” Lelièvre’s company employs 25 people.

Pi-Pop currently produces 100 bikes per month. And moving forward the company aims to produce at least 1,000 bikes per month in 2024.


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