Pedal Power aims to increase environmentally friendly electricity usage with an off-grid, pedal-powered electricity generator that can power a laptop for six hours.
(Credit: Andy Wekin)
According to the Pedal Power team, it's baffling that the bicycle — a machine with so much potential — is used solely for transportation or as a stationary exercise device. When you pedal, though, you can generate electricity. Pedal Power, seeking funding on Kickstarter, is designed to tap into that potential, allowing you to pedal to generate electricity to power your devices.
We've seen some small applications of this type of generator. You can get a headlamp for your bicycle that is powered as you pedal, for example, and there are several devices on the market, such as SpinPower and the EcoXPower, that allow you to charge your smartphone while pedalling. The amount of electricity generated, however, is pretty small.
Which makes Pedal Power's claims interesting. "On average, an adult can generate about 75 watts for two hours. That equals 150 watt-hours, which is enough to power a laptop for three to six hours or a phone for 30 to 40 hours," the Kickstarter page reads. "That electricity can be incredibly valuable in places (off the grid) or situations (blackouts or emergencies) when you would otherwise have none."
The team is selling two versions of its generators: the US$2000 Big Rig, a multifunction machine that can power just about anything that uses a V-belt pulley or chain and requires less than 1 horsepower. It consists of the pedal system, a work surface and built-in seat. The team has used it to power an electric generator, a water pump, an air compressor, a hydraulic press and food processors. An additional electric generator kit (US$400) and battery pack (US$150) allow it to power electronic devices.
The US$650 Pedal Genny is just the pedal-and-flywheel rig, and it can be used for any single function at a time. It can also have an electric generator kit added and a seat for US$450.
Unfortunately, Pedal Power will only ship within the US — but it will be interesting to see how well it performs. Additionally, the team will be making its designs open source so that people can build their own. If Pedal Power does what the team says it can do, perhaps we'll start to see exercise bicycles hit the market that can be used for more than just getting fit. That would certainly be more inspiring than just sitting there pedalling away.
Head over to the Pedal Power Kickstarter page to check it out.