Bicycles powered by hydrogen are now a reality. They currently cost 7,500 euros each, while the buyer has to add another 30,000 euros for the bicycle refueling station.
The French company Pragma Industries, which manufactures them, is trying to lower the cost of the hydrogen-powered bicycle to 5,000 euros to make it more affordable for individuals and to be about the same price level as a quality electric bike.
The company, based in Biarritz and manufactures fuel cells for military use, has already sold 60 bicycles to self-government organizations in cities such as Cambridge, Bayonne and St. Louis Serburg.
“Many others have made hydrogen-powered bikes at the prototype stage, but we are the first to make mass production,” Pierre Forte, the founder and chairman of the company, said, according to Reuters.
The hydrogen-powered “Alpha” bicycle can travel about 100 km with a two-liter hydrogen tank, like an electric bicycle. But the advantage of hydrogen is that it only takes a few minutes to refuel with hydrogen, compared with several hours of power.
A pound of hydrogen contains about 600 times more energy than a one pound lithium battery. Refueling stations, also manufactured by Pragma, produce hydrogen via electrolysis of water. Pragma produced 100 hydrogen-powered bicycles in 2017 and is expected to increase production to 150 in 2018 as it has already received orders from Norway, USA, Spain, Italy and Germany.
The French company is already developing another model that will convert water to hydrogen directly on the bike so that it has a longer range and no frequent stops for refueling.
“In the next two to three years we want to penetrate the consumer market and massively increase the scale of our activities,” said Forte.