This New Battery-Free E-bike Can Use Quick-Boosting Supercapacitor Power

The unassuming exterior of the French-designed Pi-Pop ebike may mislead observers into thinking it’s just another urban electric bike. However, beneath its seemingly primary façade lies a groundbreaking electric-assist system that diverges from conventional battery-powered counterparts.

Pi-Pop’s pursuit of cleaner, sustainable urban commuting has led to the evolution of three generations of battery-free supercapacitor bikes over the past two years. The latest iteration, introduced mid-2023, boasts enhancements such as a torque sensor, suspension fork, and an updated component set, demonstrating the company’s commitment to continuous improvement.

Unlike traditional electric bikes reliant on battery packs charged from the grid, Pi-Pop’s innovation revolves around rapid power storage and dispensing. Energy is harnessed from rider pedaling and regenerative braking, converted into electricity, and directed to supercapacitors stored in elongated boxes flanking the rear rack. The system minimizes resistance on flat sections, ensuring a seamless riding experience, while energy generation peaks during downhill coasting and braking.

The absence of a conventional battery offers advantages beyond weight reduction, a feature Pi-Pop downplays. Instead, the company highlights using basic, recyclable materials like aluminum, carbon, cellulose, and polymer in its supercapacitors. Pi-Pop emphasizes the longevity of supercars, boasting an estimated lifecycle of 10 to 15 years—outlasting conventional batteries.

A distinctive perk of Pi-Pop’s design is its readiness for use at any time. The absence of a battery tethered to the grid means the bike is always ready to ride. As riders embark on their journeys, the bike continually charges its motor power, a convenience made possible by the supercapacitors. However, Pi-Pop advises periodic usage, as the supercapacitors may drain over two months of inactivity.

While acknowledging the system’s limitations—precisely, the supercapacitors’ capacity constraints—Pi-Pop positions its e-bike as ideal for urban riders facing modest hills during city commutes. The technology’s efficiency diminishes on gradients exceeding 10% over 1,640 feet (500 m), making it less suitable for extended steep climbs.

Currently, Pi-Pop assembles approximately 100 bikes monthly at its headquarters in Orléans, France, with ambitious plans to escalate production tenfold in 2024 and expand further into the European market. The third-generation Pi-Pop super cap ebike is priced at €2,450 (approx. US$2,675), including VAT, offering a sustainable and innovative option for urban commuters.

Source: Pi-Pop via Euronews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *